Best Time to Prune Trees in Southern Idaho


In Idaho, it is not uncommon for a yard to have a variety of trees. Some trees are decorative or provide shade and others bear fruit. Most of these trees have in common that they need to be pruned.

When you prune your trees is important

I learned about a decade ago that when you prune your trees is extremely important. My parents had a giant cherry tree in their garden. It was easily 25 feet tall and loaded with cherries. My parents went on vacation for a week, so my little brother and I decided to cut some branches. We knew my mother wanted the tree pruned for several years. So we started cutting branches and making the tree much more manageable. Over the next few months before winter, the tree began to look sad. The leaves died earlier than any of the other trees in the yard. There were no new branches, flower buds or leaves the following spring. We had killed my mother’s 30-year-old cherry tree.

We certainly pruned the tree too much anyway, but the fact that we made the cut at the wrong time of year was the nail in the coffin.

When to prune trees

Not all trees are the same when it comes to when you should prune them and how much you should prune them, but for most trees, now is the best time to have them pruned and ready for spring growth. Especially fruit trees. Take the first weekend of early spring when the weather isn’t in the single digits and cut some branches while the trees are dormant. The Idaho Tree Preservation recommends that pruning occur when the tree is dormant. This gives the tree time to heal before spring and there are fewer insects and diseases active in late winter and early spring.

Birch Tree Care also points out that pruning before the leaves sprout allows you to better see what you’re doing. That doesn’t mean you can’t prune a tree in the summer, as those months are perfect for corrective pruning and removal of dead branches. You will know the branch is dead if the rest of the tree has flowered or is covered in leaves.

Don’t prune your trees in the fall

Another thing most websites agree on is that you should never prune in the fall. Pruning in the fall puts your tree at a higher risk of rot and slow healing.

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