Is It Bad to Trim a Tree in the Fall?

Is It Bad to Trim a Tree in the Fall?

Trees are oftentimes considered an asset to a yard. They add beauty, provide much-needed shade, and act as a haven for many creatures as well. However, to ensure they remain an asset, trees need to be properly maintained. Tree maintenance such as trimming helps trees retain their aesthetic appeal, promote new growth, and maintain their structural integrity.

While you might already know trimming is an essential part of tree maintenance, you might be wondering what time of the year it is best for proper pruning or trimming. Is it best to trim a tree in the fall, winter, spring, or summer? Keep reading to find out.

Is It Bad to Trim a Tree in the Fall?

When you look around your yard, if your trees are overgrown or misshapen, branches look wonky, and/or the limbs are growing dangerously close to your house or power lines, it’s time to start trimming branches. With autumn’s cooler weather just around the corner, it seems like it would be the ideal time of year to trim your trees. However, before you grab your sheers and ladder, you’ll want to be sure that the fall is a good time of the year to trim your trees.

Wait Until the Leaves Fall Off

While cool, fall weather might seem like the ideal time to make your pruning cuts, it’s better to wait until winter; or at least until all of the leaves have fallen off. When trees drop all of their leaves, that signifies they are dormant. During the dormant season, new growth won’t occur, which means there’s less of a risk of damaging the tree.

Waiting to trim your trees later in the season, or until the leaves all fall off will allow you to enjoy the brilliant fall foliage, and also ensure the health of your trees. Trimming too early can be harmful to the health of your trees. When it comes to autumn tree trimming, procrastinating is recommended. Why is that? Here’s a look at some of the top reasons why you should hold off on trimming or fall pruning.

Trimming Leaves Wounds in Trees

Just like you would want a wound on your skin to heal as quickly as possible, you also want the wounds on your trees to heal as quickly as possible. If you trim in early fall, the wounds will take longer to close. This may leave a tree more susceptible to a variety of problems, including fungal diseases and pest infestations. For the vast majority of trees, the best time of the year to trim is in late winter through early spring. During these times of the year, tree wounds will heal much faster.

Trimming Stimulates New Growth

If you trim a tree in the fall, especially early fall, you could end up stimulating new growth. Although new plant growth is typically a good thing, at this time of the year, the new growth won’t have enough time to harden before frigid temperatures arrive. New plant growth is tender, and cold weather can harm that tender growth, resulting in damage to the tree.

The Exception

There is an exception to not trimming in the fall, or at least waiting until all of the leaves have fallen off. The exception is in the case of disease, damage, or dead sections of a tree. If any of the wood on your trees is damaged, diseased, or dead, you’re going to want to remove the dead sections as soon as possible. Doing so will help to ensure the health of the tree come the next growing season.

Related Articles:

Are Dead Branches Bad for a Tree?

Trimming vs Pruning: Not the Same Thing

Tree Services of Omaha

Tree Services of Omaha, Nebraska is a full-service tree care provider that offers a wide range of arborist services including but not limited to: Tree Removal Services, Tree Trimming, Tree Pruning, Tree and shrubs Shaping, Stump Removal, Stump Grinding, Arborist Consultations, Systemic Tree Injections.

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