Pruning is one of the first things you want to think about in the Spring. In fact, it can be started in late winter. The timing is important because pruning after the tree or shrub has come out of dormancy will stimulate new growth, if that new growth gets a hard freeze then it may not survive. On the flip side, if you wait until too late in the season then the tree will have expended precious energy creating buds that will get pruned off. Ideally, you get the tree all pruned just before it starts taking stored energy from the roots to put into making new spring growth. This way you optimize the tree’s energy stores. In real life, however, we know that trying to guess what Mother Nature’s Spring schedule is can be a tricky game (especially in Northern Utah). She likes to keep us guessing, so we just do our best to find a balance between pruning too early or too late and usually it turns out.
Your first priority when pruning will be to remove dead or diseased branches. You want to give your tree or shrub a fresh start, dead or diseased areas attract pests that will cause more problems for you down the road. Second, you will create the shape you want for your tree or shrub. This varies depending on your objective. If it is ornamental and you prefer a round, balanced look then that will be your focus. If it is a fruit producing tree then you will want to focus on encouraging sturdy, 45 degree angle limbs at reachable levels for picking. Lastly, with all pruning you will want to consider opening up the center of the tree or shrub to allow light and air to reach all parts of the plant. This last consideration will help your tree or shrub reach it’s highest potential for a healthy, disease and pest free year.
Pruning can be done at other times of the year, but Spring will be the easiest time for your tree or shrub to heal the cutting wounds that are created. When finished pruning, give your tree or shrub an application of our Tree and Shrub Food and it will be on it’s way to a successful year. Visit us with questions or to get supplies.