When Is the Ideal Time to Prune Your Trees?

Tree pruning encourages tree growth and maintains the structural integrity of trees. It also removes dead and dying branches, including diseased ones. These and many other benefits, however, shouldn’t have you running for the shears ready to trim your trees.

Why? — Because tree trimming should be done when it’s favorable. As such, it’s no surprise that one of the frequent questions our arborists are asked is, “When should we have our trees trimmed?” Well, the answer is not a straightforward one, but luckily, we have put together a handy guide to try to answer this question once and for all:

What Is the Best Time of Year To Trim Your Trees?

When it comes to tree pruning, arborists must consider the type of tree in question, as well as a variety of other aspects such as insect impact, disease susceptibility, and adjacent landscaping.

Typically, though, the best time to prune or trim trees and shrubs is in the winter. Most trees are dormant from November to March, making it a perfect season for the following reasons:

  • Plants are less susceptible to diseases and pests during winter.
  • When the leaves are gone, our crew can easily see what they’re doing, having minimal impact on the surrounding landscape.
  • Trees repair more quickly, so by the time spring arrives, your tree will be happy and healthy once more.
  • Oh, and there’s one more major advantage to pruning trees in the winter: you save money!

Why Should You Prune Your Trees? 12 Reasons To Trim Your Plants 


Pruning is an important aspect of all Southern Indiana & Metro Louisville tree and plant maintenance programs. Trimming plants properly fosters growth, improves overall plant health, improves the curb appearance of your home, and can boost flower and fruit production. Here is a comprehensive list of benefits of tree pruning:

  • It improves the plant’s overall health.
  • It gets rid of any diseased, insect-infested, animal-infested, storm-damaged, or otherwise damaged branches.
  • Branch stubs and branches that rub against each other can be removed for proper growth.
  • It keeps plants in line with their functional uses e.g. hedging to define a pathway.
  • Encourages the growth of flowers and fruits.
  • Protects your family and your belongings. Pruning branches that overhang homes, sidewalks, parking lots, and any other location where falling limbs could injure people or cause property damage is vital. 
  • Helps maintain a hedge.
  • Topiary- Encourages a certain plant shape or landscape form.
  • Improves the overall look and curb appeal of plants in your landscape. 
  • Helps control the size and shape of your plants.
  • Maintains dense and well-proportioned shrubbery.
  • Eliminate suckers, fruiting structures, waterspouts, and any growths that distract from the aesthetic of the plant.
  • Remove obstructions at intersections, overhead cables, traffic signals, streetlights, and so on. 

When Is the Best Time To Trim Your Oaks, Honey Locusts, and Apple Trees?

The best time to prune your plants is in the late winter. Because plants are dormant in winter, our arborists can make decisions easier because there are fewer leaf obstacles. Pruning late in winter ensures that fresh wounds are only exposed for a brief period before new growth begins, allowing the pruning wound to heal more quickly. 

Pruning in the late winter is extremely beneficial when counteracting some plant diseases. Oak Wilt disease, a disease that affects oak trees can for example be avoided by pruning between November and March. Furthermore, you should never prune oaks between April and October. 

For apple trees, trimming between February and late April is ideal. Pruning in the spring or summer increases the possibilities of infection spreading, whereas pruning in the fall or early winter can cause growth concerns in the following season.

Honey locusts, on the other hand, should be pruned in late winter when they are dormant, as it is best to prune in dry weather.

Other Times When Pruning is Ideal

  1. After Blooming

Trees and shrubs that blossom early in the growing season on the previous year’s growth should be clipped as soon as possible.

  1. Before Regeneration/Regrowth 

Shrubs that are planted for their foliage rather than their beautiful flowers should be clipped in the spring before they begin to grow.

  1. Twice Yearly for Shrubs and hedges

After the initial pruning at planting, hedges need to be maintained regularly. Hedges are typically clipped twice a year, first in the spring and again in the summer.

  1. Minimal Pruning for Evergreens

Evergreens (conifers) require little pruning, with a few exceptions. Evergreens should be pruned in different ways depending on their growth tendencies.

Tree Services in Indiana and Kentucky – Sys Enterprises

Need tree timing services? Not sure how or when to prune your plants? Don’t fret! With over 30 years of experience, we can prune or remove your trees to promote a healthy environment for everyone. Contact us today at (502) 724-6950!