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What's the Best Time of Year to Trim a Pine Tree?

Himni Palacios
Content Contributor

Best Time to Trim Pine Trees?

Pine trees are beautiful and provide your home with additional shade and a natural look.

But these tall trees likely need occasional trimming, too. Good tree maintenance is important both for your safety and for the health of the tree.

If you have these trees in your yard, how do you know when it’s time for trimming pine trees? Read on to learn more so you won’t get surprised later on.

Trimming Pine Trees to Prevent Damage

While spring and winter are the ideal time for trimming pine trees, there may be some instances where you have to do some pruning outside of this window. For example, if you notice a large branch has come loose from wind or lightning, there’s no need to delay cutting it down.

Leaning branches that are directly over your roof can cause some serious damage. If you spot any branches that seem to be in distress, it’s imperative that you remove them right away.

Try to cut back to the healthy branches that are located just below the dead or diseased area of the tree. This will help new branches to develop and will keep the tree healthy.

If you’re ever in doubt about how to safely trim your pine trees, contact a professional arborist. They have the skills and tools necessary to ensure that the trimming goes without a hitch.

Trimming to Promote Growth

If your pine trees look healthy and there’s no visible damage, you can still trim them in order to promote faster, healthier growth. The springtime is the best time of year to do this since they’ll be less susceptible to diseases and pests.

Wait to trim your pine tree until after the first full growth in the spring. You should notice small shoots called candles starting to grow at the tip of the tree’s branches.

These “candles” should be cut at about the halfway point. When you do this, it will stimulate new buds to grow, and it will also create a better density for the tree.

Make sure you repeat this candle-trimming process every year in order to maintain the tree’s healthy development. Cutting the candles is an easy way to keep your pine trees healthy as long as you do it at the correct time of year.

When is it Wrong to Trim?

Unless your pine trees are posing a serious risk to your home or may cause injury or damage, there are times where you should not trim them. Avoid pruning or trimming your pine trees during early fall and late summer.

Whenever the weather is dry, there’s a much higher risk of bark beetle infestations. These beetles are detrimental to pine trees and can actually kill them in a matter of days.

If you trim your pine trees during the fall season, it can cause serious harm to the trees. When you trim it in fall, it may not give the tree enough time to stimulate new growth.

Once the cold of winter sets in, the tree will want to continue to grow but the cold weather can stop it in its tracks. When this happens, you’ve effectively stunted the growth of the tree and have left it much more susceptible to problems.

Mature, established pine trees need very little maintenance, so they should be left alone for the most part. As long as your pines are planted in the correct hardiness zone, they should grow healthily with little problems.

Most pine trees are exceptionally strong and typically grow in the same uniform pyramid shape. Unless you’re concerned about the way they look, you can likely leave them as they are.

For most trimming, it’s needed when the pine trees are either diseased or damaged. As long as you keep a close eye on their condition, your pines should be easy to care for and maintain.

Credit: ACI Land & Aquatic Management