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When is the best time to trim trees in NC? The answer depends on a number of factors, including the type of tree and its location. To understand when a certain type of tree should be trimmed, you need to know what growth stage it’s currently going through. There are typically four major stages that most trees go through: seedling, sapling, pole-size tree, and mature tree.
Most trees grow rapidly in the seedling stage – typically four to five feet a year – but have slower growth periods later on. Seedlings can be thinned by trimming branches that are too heavy or low-hanging outgrowths that risk rooting themselves into other plants.
Winter Pruning: The Basics
Seedlings should not be pruned in the winter, because that’s when they’re drawing energy from their root systems. Once a tree reaches pole size, it begins to outgrow its seedling stage and can be trimmed on an annual basis. A pole-sized tree typically reaches about 20 feet high and four to eight inches in diameter. It’s relatively easy to decide when a pole-sized tree should be trimmed because there are several growth stages that can be identified by looking at the branches.
Once leaves start to appear, the tree is growing into its mature stage, which lasts for about 30 years on average. During this time, it’s still generally okay to trim off the lower branches that are growing too low.
Mature trees will likely require more regular pruning than either seedlings or pole-sized trees, which typically only need to be trimmed every few years. Mature trees will benefit from annual trims in order to prevent falling debris and maintain their shape.
Trees Should Generally Be Trimmed In Late Winter or Early Spring
The reason for this is simple. If you wait until the tree is fully dormant, it won’t bleed sap for several months. This protects the plants from infection by any pathogens that could be on your tools or in the air. It also preserves all of the plant’s energy to use during the growing season, whereas if you prune off more branches than necessary, it will have to use some of its energy for healing instead.
By pruning in early spring, you’ll be able to see the wrong cuts more easily and thus improve your chances of avoiding them during future tree-trimming projects. The cut bark will heal over quickly if it’s done when the sap is moving, whereas wounds that are created while the tree is dormant may never seal up. This means that it will be more susceptible to disease and pests later on.
Be very careful when pruning trees in the fall, especially if the leaves are still present. Leaves act as protective barriers during the winter months, helping to protect your trees from external damage such as from insects or lawnmowers. If you take a branch off in the fall when it’s covered with leaves, this will allow insects and lawnmowers to get closer to the tree, giving them more room to chew on your plants.
Ultimately, It Depends on The Type of Tree And Its Purpose
While timing is important, you need to take into account the type of tree you’re trimming as well. When it comes to evergreens, the answer is simple: they should be pruned in late winter or early spring anytime except right before summer. This time period is typically during February or March for most trees, but it varies depending on where you live and the type of tree.
Evergreen trees generally don’t need to be trimmed annually, so if you wait until early spring, it won’t do much harm. Just make sure not to prune too heavily or cut off more than a third of new growth at a time because this could weaken your plant and disrupt its natural dormancy cycle.
Coniferous trees should be pruned around the same time as evergreens. However, it’s best to avoid fall pruning of these plants because they can exude sap that attracts pests and pathogens if you disturb them during their dormancy period. This also applies for deciduous trees, like oaks and maples, which lose their leaves during the fall.
Pruning Trees in the Summer Should Be Avoided
Even though we often think of pruning as a way to improve our trees’ health and appearance, summer is actually not a good time for this because it’s very hot out and the tree will bleed sap for several weeks. This sap will attract insects and pathogens, which can lead to infections. The best time to prune trees is in the spring or during the late winter/early spring when they are beginning to bud out.
Contact Us Today for Tree Trimming Services in NC
The timing of your tree trimming really does matter , but take into account the type of tree and its purpose before you start cutting. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to have a healthy, well-maintained landscape for many years. If you have questions about when it’s best to trim trees in NC, give us a call at 910-264-6782 or fill out the form below.
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