Summer Pruning of Trees and Woody Shrubs

The best time to prune most woody plant material is late winter/early spring. The next best time is mid-summer, which in central Ohio is usually July/August. WHY should you consider summer pruning?

  • Corrective pruning for shape and aesthetic value

  • Remove “water sprouts” and base suckers that rob your plant of energy

  • Redirect wayward branch growth

  • Remove dead or damaged branches

  • Train young plants to minimize future pruning

Summer pruning requires delicate timing. We wait until the spring/summer “push” is over -- the trees have finished blooming and the foliage has completely emerged. Not all trees are on the same schedule, but if you missed winter pruning (or you’re just way overdue for some clean up), NOW is a good time to take corrective action. SOME TIPS:

  • If you are new to pruning, consider hiring me to TEACH YOU how to prune your own plants!

  • Read a book or consult a website that ends in .EDU for more information about pruning specific plants. (I recommend anything published by Timber Press.)

  • Save your major cuts for the dormant season (winter). Trees pruned in winter have less exposure to insects and pathogen activity than those pruned in summer.

  • Finish your pruning before the end of August so your plants have time to recover before cooler weather slows healing.

  • Remember that good pruning is ALWAYS a multi-year activity. If you need to make major changes to an older tree or shrub, consider what needs to happen now vs. future pruning and plant growth.

IF YOU NEED PRUNING ASSISTANCE to make your landscape investment look its very best, give me a call ASAP: 614-404-7236. I’m scheduling appointments through August, depending on the plant and the weather. You can also send me an email at

$60/hour with a 2-hour minimum. A small travel fee applies if you live beyond 10 miles from zip code 43202. (Price valid through 9/1/17.)

I SPECIALIZE IN THE AESTHETIC PRUNING OF HIGH-VALUE TREES AND SHRUBS like Japanes maples, smaller magnolias, lilacs, dogwoods, flowering cherries, crabapples, and so on. I love pruning and it shows in the quality of my work. I may be modest about certain aspects of my job, but I take pruning VERY seriously!

(C)2017 All rights reserved. Permission granted to republish if links and content are correctly attributed to Tisa Watts at Thanks!

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