Is It Okay to Prune Bushes in the Summer?

Trees and bushes can greatly enhance a home’s curb appeal, but only if they’re maintained. Over time, some bushes will naturally grow, leading you to pull out the trimmers to keep things looking neat and tidy. But before you start pruning, pay close attention to the type of greenery you have in your yard. Some bushes can actually suffer if you trim them during the wrong time of the year.

Only Trim When Necessary

It’s important to avoid putting yourself on a pruning schedule and rigorously sticking to it. Instead, keep an eye on your trees and shrubs and pull out the shears when you start to notice problems. If there are dead leaves or limbs are rubbing against each other and causing damage, for instance, it’s a great time to do some trimming.

With some bushes, pruning can help create a little breathing room. You’ll improve air circulation and promote growth. But avoid cutting the main stems of any plant, opting instead to only cut one-third or less of any branches during each pruning session.

Don’t Disrupt the Budding Process

The reason you might have heard advice to avoid pruning in the summer is that it might disrupt the budding process. But this depends on the tree type. Roses and crepe myrtles are still flowering during the early summer months, so cutting into them can do more harm than good.

But shrubs that flower each year during the spring, including lilac and forsythia bushes, should be closely examined during the summer months. The best time to remove any dead branches is after the flowering process is complete. By next spring, your neatly trimmed tree will be ready to start growing buds again.

When to Avoid All Pruning

To play it safe, put your trimming tools away at the end of summer and don’t touch them again until fall has safely passed. Pruning during the fall leave-shedding season can harm the tree. Pruning encourages growth, which is something you don’t want to do just before trees go into their dormant season, especially if frost is coming along soon.

Another problem with fall pruning is that the wounds your pruning leaves behind won’t have time to heal during the dormant winter, which can cause disease to creep in. For best results, wait until the winter months to start your pruning, after your bushes have gone dormant.

If you live in the greater Washington, D.C. area, you already know how the weather can affect your landscaping during each of the four seasons. Great American Landscapes specializes in keeping yards healthy and attractive. Whether you’re looking to add new landscaping or clean up the shrubs and trees you already have, our experts can help. Contact us at (301) 972-5681 to discuss how we can help with your landscaping needs.

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