Worst time to prune trees is … right now!

posted by Randy Lemmon - 

A lot of listeners want to know if it’s okay to prune their trees at this time of year. 

With temperatures in the mid-90s and top-end humidity, I’m sure you’ll agree that the heat ain’t going nowhere for the next several weeks. And that makes this the worst time of the year to prune trees.

That’s critically important to remember … don’t get suckered into any tree pruning for at least the next six to eight weeks. It’s killing me to hear all the current advertisements from companies saying “it’s time for the pruning of trees.”  That is quite simply the worst advice anyone can give right now. 

The average start time for pruning season in our area is October 15-ish.  But even to begin on that date, we’d really need to see a dramatic change in the weather. 

Of course, I’m referring to major pruning.  Low-hanging branches or limbs with out-of-control growth here and there are fair game for clean-up now. Major pruning jobs are those that clear established limbs from the bottom up for several feet, and from the inside, to create air circulation or allow more sunlight to filter down to the ground.

Bottom Line:  Please avoid hiring any tree company that says it’s okay to prune right now! Pruning puts added stress on trees are already struggling in this extreme heat and could actually be a death sentence.   That’s especially true for trees that are already shedding leaves.

Affordable Tree Service, which I endorse on GardenLine (and several other reputable tree companies), also agree wholeheartedly that this is the worst time to prune trees. 

What you can do, though - and it’s a smart idea - is to get your pruning booked in advance with a trustworthy tree company that agrees with my warning on major work. Set it up for October through March 1.  In fact, November, December and January are considered the three best months. 

By the way … tree removal can be done at any time of the year.  I just felt the need to point that out, because someone will inevitably ask.

And there’s another tree-care issue popping up these days: deep-root feeding.  Some supposed “arborists” out there are telling people that deep-root watering and feeding is a waste of time and provides no benefit to established trees. These “experts” apparently aren’t familiar with our clay-, gumbo- and caliche-based soils, and are giving out advice they must have learned in other regions of the country.  Anyone who works with our trees and soil long enough becomes familiar with the benefits of deep-root feeding and watering. 

But I agree that just one deep-root feeding is not going to be of much benefit. At the very least, it should be done once a year for several years. Twice a year for three to five years is even better.  And if you think a tree company is just pitching deep-root feeding to drum up work during this slow time of the year … or if cost is a concern … you can do it yourself.  Check out one of my most oft-cited and most frequently viewed tip sheet on how to do it.

By the way … Affordable Tree Service will deep-root feed any tree pruned October through February at no additional cost.  BUT, to get that special deal, you must mention my name!

GardenLine with Randy Lemmon

GardenLine with Randy Lemmon

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