When is the best time to prune a tree?

This is a tricky question, because it depends on why you want to prune the tree!  Most trees can be pruned at any time of the year, especially if the goal is to remove the dead, dying, and diseased branches; thin and shape the tree; or trim the tree away from a building or electric wires.  Personally, I like ornamental pruning in the dormant season (winter), because the branching structure is more easily visible since the leaves are gone.  I can still tell which branches are alive by the presence of buds.

Fruit trees, when used for agriculture, are best when pruned just after fruit drop.  This gives the tree more time to grow after pruning, and just before going dormant, the tree will make the flower buds for the next year.  If you prune after the tree is dormant, you will cut off many flower buds that the tree has already created.  If you remove all the flower buds, it follows that you will have no fruit the next year, although the tree is likely to live.  If you remove some of the flower buds, anytime before fruiting, you will get larger fruit.  More flowers is to plentiful small fruit, as less flowers is to less plentiful larger fruit.  Knowing this, if the tree’s purpose is not the fruit, but rather the flowers, then we want to prune just after flowering.

Be careful not to prune too heavily before the hottest part of the year, as stress and sun tend not to mix well.

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Donna B. in Dixon, NM


Anthony of Baby Gorilla has helped us with pruning twice within the past five years, the first time on an ancient and beloved silver poplar and the second an apricot tree in front of our home. With the apricot tree, Anthony presented two choices for trimming, one a light pruning to enhance it as a beautiful spreading tree and the other a more intense pruning to help the tree bear larger fruit. Anthony and his crew did a great job pruning and with clean up. While he was at it, he removed a thirty foot high volunteer elm that was crowding out some of our small trees. We won the second pruning as part of Anthony's donation to the Dixon Volunteer Fire Department's annual pancake breakfast. Anthony is also a volunteer firefighter with DVFD.

Donna B.
Dixon, NM

Linda X.


Anthony is very knowledgeable about trees and just do great work. We have a lot of trees and they do great work at a reasonable price. He knows what needs to be done to really get them alive and looking their best while keeping the property/house safe at the same time. He also cares about the gardens and plants under the trees they are working on at t he same time. And his crew is really good as well.

Linda X.

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