Best Time to Prune 5 Common Trees in Richmond, VA

Too many people are sitting by and allowing their trees to grow without taking care of them or pruning them at all. However, this is inviting many problems to your yard. If you skip pruning or trimming your trees, you are inviting safety and health problems. Dead limbs will fall during any summer store, unhealthy branches pull nutrients from your tree where it needs them, and your tree just won’t look as good as it could. Homeowners all over Richmond know that trees are a beautiful addition to your yard, but with that beauty comes the responsibility of taking care of them.

You can’t just go out and prune your trees whenever you want – or you can, but that isn’t in the best interests of your trees. Instead, you have to trim them right when the time is right. For the most popular trees in Richmond, you want to prune at these times:

5. Washington Hawthorn: As Needed

  • Remove Diseased Limbs Immediately
  • Prune Lower Branches
  • Immediately Remove Pruned Limbs

One of the reasons that we suggest this tree for many people in Richmond is because it doesn’t really need that much maintenance. With the Washington Hawthorn, you really only have to prune the trees when you see that something is wrong. Make sure you take a walk around your trees from time to time to spot any dead or diseased looking branches.

When pruning, you have to be careful that you use best practices and immediately remove the diseased limbs. The diseases that are most common for the Washington Hawthorn end up spreading very easily and can spread from removed limbs, according to the University of Kentucky.

4. Eastern Redbud: When the Blooms Fall

  • Immediately Prune Verticillium Wilt, Leaf Spots, or Canker Spots
  • For Smaller Trees, Prune All the Way Back
  • Prune Less Often As the Tree Matures

The blooms of the Eastern Redbud are some of the most beautiful in the world, but you may want to pay attention to them for another reason – they are the best indication of when to prune. According to SF Gate: prune after the flowers fade for the best results. You will have to learn how to read your tree and understand where to cut and when to cut.

This is an extremely exacting science when you do it on trees that act as an ornamental tree. It has to be extremely strong where you trim, which is why you shouldn’t trim where a branch has broken off.

3. American Beech: Winter and As Needed

  • Only Prune Certain Parts of the Tree
  • Improper Pruning Can Damage Tree
  • Can Prune to Ornamental Size

For the most part, the American Beech tree grows fairly well when left to its own devices. It has a central trunk that grows straight up and through the tree. It needs very little pruning, to be fair. However, there are some cross sections that do need to be trimmed so that your tree can continue to grow strong.

You also want to remove suckers, which are thin straight branches. Pruning is best when the tree is dormant and not actively growing. Be careful if handling the pruning yourself because it can open your tree up to disease.

Try to avoid, if at all possible, pruning during the winter or when your tree is sprouting. According to Oplin, you can prune more frequently if you want to keep the tree ornamental.


2. Willow Oak: Late October to Mid March When Dormant

  • Focus on Keeping Central Leader Strong
  • Prune Dead or Diseased Branches ASAP
  • Remove Mature Branches First

The key to knowing how and when to trim your Willow Oak is to be able to tell whether or not your tree is dormant. Only then can you trim and prune it properly and without event. The end goal for pruning the Willow Oak is to give the tree ability to withstand high winds and torrential downpours.

Unlike some of the other trees on this list, you have to trim the branches near the bottom of this tree as it gets older. The branches become too heavy and start to droop, which makes it extremely dangerous, according to the US Forest Service.

1. Black Gum: When Necessary, Dormant

  • Remove Damaged and Diseases Branches ASAP
  • Immediately Eliminate the Diseased Portions
  • Prune Lower Branches

The key to pruning a Black Gum tree properly is to use the right tools. You have to get as close as possible to the bark, which can create some issues if you aren’t using high quality, professional grade tools. Make sure to eliminate any diseased branches as soon as possible but be careful about spreading the disease by touching the branch to other branches or by keeping the diseased wood around for a long period of time. This also means that you need to remove the infested leaves as well.

Other than diseases and the occasional low hanging branch, you typically don’t have to do much pruning of this tree.

The better quality tree you have and the better you take care of it, according to The Spruce, the better your tree will be and the less pruning you will have to do.

Pruning your trees is work that takes a lot of technical skill and the right kinds of tools. You can’t just take to your trees with a saw or start breaking things off. Of course, it also helps to have a working knowledge of the different parts of the trees, including what shoots and dead limbs look like. It can be complicated, especially when things look different on each and every tree.

That’s why we recommend calling Ridgeline Tree Service for your pruning needs. We will consult with you about your trees, finding the best time to prune them and fulfilling the job with our tools. Our team members are trained, experts in their fields, and fully insured. It isn’t worth taking the risk of cutting it on your own – give our tree care experts a call at (804) 378-2900.

Header photo courtesy of Jay Cross on Flickr!


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