Pruning Tips for Flowering Trees

Common wisdom usually puts annual tree pruning as a late winter task, but that is not necessarily true for flowering trees. To ensure that your trees have good form and flower well, you must properly prune them and at the right time. 

1. Know When to Prune

You must know when your trees flower to plan your pruning window correctly. If you aren't sure, contact a tree service. They can verify the tree varieties and let you know when a specific variety typically flowers in your area. 

Trees that flower in spring should be pruned after they finish blooming. If you prune them before they flower, you will cut off the swelling flower buds. The result is that the tree won't flower as profusely, if at all.

Early summer flowering trees are pruned in late winter, right before the buds begin to swell. These later flowering trees typically produce their flower buds as new growth begins in the spring, so you can trim them in late winter without any fear of reduced bloom. You can prune lightly after flowering, but major pruning should occur during the late winter dormant season.

2. ApplyPruning Tips

How you prune is just as important as when to prune. Young trees primarily need to be trained to one strong leader with a well-balanced network of lateral branches. Shrubby growth around the tree base, which are called suckers, must also be cut back to the ground.

In the canopy of the tree, the main concerns are rubbing branches and damage. Dead and damaged branches must be removed, or at least trimmed back beyond the damaged area. Rubbing damaged branches will weaken over time, so you should also remove them. Cuts should only be made just forward of a leaf or flower bud, or all the way back to the base of the branch that you are removing.

If a flowering tree is getting too large, don't top it. Topping is a method where the top of the tree is cut off flat. This method weakens trees and can greatly reduce flowering for many years. Instead, trim back all the branches by no more than a third of their length. Maintain the natural shape of the canopy as you prune.

Flowering trees add spring beauty and summertime shade. Contact a local tree trimming service so you can ensure your trees remain healthy and flowering for years to come. 



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