Regular tree trimming is needed to keep trees in their best shape and health. Trimming is a regular maintenance plan to improve the appeal of your home and give the tree a new life. Trees go through a cycle of growth and dormancy every year. The best time to trim trees depends on the tree type and the reason for trimming. Factors like insects’ impact, trees’ susceptibility to diseases and the surrounding landscape forms reasons for trimming trees.

Some trees thrive well when trimmed at some specific periods of the year, while others don’t. Let’s find out the best time of the year to trim some specific tree types.

When to Trim Specific Tree Types

Based on tree types, this section gives the period in which some trees are to be trimmed.

Fruit trees

In the northern hemisphere, fruit trees should be trimmed from late February to early April. While in the southern hemisphere, fruit trees should be trimmed amidst early spring break. Fruit trees growth will be damaged if trimmed in fall or early winter.

Deciduous trees

Late winter and early spring are best for trimming deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are trimmed before the leaves start to grow back. Trimming the tree while it is dormant reduces the shock on the tree. The tree recovers slowly over the coming month in early spring.


Evergreen trees can be trimmed in the same period as the deciduous trees. Unwanted branches from the bottom of the trees should be removed. When trimming, cut branches above these trees’ side buds. However, trimming of evergreen trees should be according to their growth habits.

Should you trim trees in late winter or early spring?

Winter Trimming

The best time for trees to be trimmed is in late winter. During this period trees enter a dormant stage. They are not actively growing. Trimming trees in the winter allow for new growth.

Trimming the tree after growth has started will have a negative impact on the tree. It is, however, best to trim trees after the coldest part of the season. This prevents the tree from extreme cold snaps.

Other reasons for trimming your tree in winter include;

  • Harder grounds in winter give easy access to the tree. Arborists can climb up a ladder to trim the branches. Bare canopy makes the branches easier to see.
  • Old and dying branches of the tree can be cut. This promotes the tree’s health.
  • It is easy to manage tree diseases due to dormancy.
  • It makes the tree focus on flowering and fruiting.
  • Cleaning is convenient because no leaves are scattered.


Spring Trimming

Although the sap rises during spring, tree trimming can yield good results for most species. Problematic branches can be identified before the tree has fully produced leaves.

Trimming trees during spring makes it easy to see branches that are dead or diseased and need removal. Trees that need complete removal are also identified in this period.  For tree species that flower in mid to late summer, trimming is best done in early spring. It allows the tree to produce more buds on the remaining branches.

Is it okay to trim trees in summer?

Well, the rule is that “the best time to trim your tree is in winter”. Yet, a little trimming can be done in summer. It is more difficult because of the full leaves on the tree. Branches with problems won’t be easy to identify.

Although, if your trimming schedule is planned out, you don’t need to trim your tree in summer. But if there is a need for it, such as a broken branch, trimming can be done. Not more than 10% of tree foliage should be reduced.

Summer is the best period to identify branches that are weakened due to the weight of their leaves. Such branches would sag when compared to healthy ones.

Less damage would be done to the branches if you trim at the end of summer. There are several tree species that produce a lot of sap during late winter or spring. This species benefits from summer trimming. Summer trimming helps you avoid the sticky mess that may occur.  Some of these species include; birches, dogwood and elms.

Fall Trimming

Your trees are out at risk if you trim them in the fall. Fall, generally, is the worst time for trees to be trimmed. In fall, cuts take a longer time to heal. This is because the tree is going into dormancy.

The best time for tree’s to be trimmed is during the dormant season. It maintains the tree’s health and sustains future growth. In addition, trimming in the dormant season saves time and money.

Tree Trimming Schedule

  • Hedges need to be trimmed regularly. They can be trimmed twice a year. This is done in spring and again in mid-summer.
  • Shrubs grown mainly for foliage should be trimmed in the spring before growth begins.
  • Honey Locusts should be trimmed in late winter during dormancy.
  • Apple trees are best trimmed between February and late April.

Need tree trimming services in Jax? Contact Leinad Tree Service.