5 Signs That It Is Time to Prune Your Trees

Tree Pruning

Pruning your trees keeps them looking beautiful, prevents expensive property damage and may help you avoid the need for costly removal of diseased or rotting trees. Though you may understand the benefits of pruning, you may not know when it should be scheduled for the best results. Here are five signs that it is time to prune your trees.

Broken Branches

A tree with weak or broken branches poses a hazard to people and your home. This damage is often caused by heavy rain or wind, so it is recommended you check your trees after a storm and have any broken branches trimmed as soon as possible to prevent them from falling on your property.

Deep Cracks

Tree bark cracks are usually caused by temperature fluctuations. On warm winter days, the sun heats up the bark, which then freezes at night when temperatures drop dramatically, causing sunscald. Young fruit trees are especially prone to this damage, which can stunt their growth.

Frost cracks happen when water in the tree trunk cells freezes and escapes the cells, causing the wood to shrink. The tension between the frozen and unfrozen parts of the wood eventually causes the tree to crack. Beech, maple, oak and walnut trees – all native to Georgia – are more likely to develop frost cracks, but proper pruning can help prevent them from forming.

Excessive Greenery

More is not always better, especially when it comes to foliage. If you cannot see through the leaves or branches of your tree, it is time to trim it back. Branches that are too dense are more likely to catch the wind and cause damage.

Tree Cankers

When a spot of your tree’s bark is sunken in or missing, this can signal disease or decay. Cankers can be caused by a fungus, insects, chemicals or environmental conditions. Young fruit trees have a difficult time recovering from cankers. Even established shade trees can be weakened by cankers, making them more susceptible to wind damage.

To prevent further rotting, you should remove as much of the canker as possible. The tree should only be pruned during dry weather using a sterilized cutting tool.

Untamed Growth

When trees are not pruned regularly, they can grow in ways that are not ideal. A misshapen tree does not distribute its weight properly which can cause branches to break and damage your property.

This is especially important for young or newly planted trees, which need more guidance to grow in the right direction. It is recommended you entrust a professional arborist with this job, as attempting to do it yourself can result in severe damage if you prune too much.

The Best Time of Year to Prune

Even if your trees are not showing signs of damage or decay, they should still be pruned to ensure they remain healthy. Light pruning can be done anytime, but here are some seasonal guidelines to follow for bigger trimming tasks.


Pruning during dormancy is common, because it often results in a vibrant burst of new growth in the spring. It is recommended to wait until after the coldest part of winter has passed.


This is the time of year when most trees are beginning to bloom, so pruning should be minimized to encourage growth of new leaves, flowers or fruit. You can prune trees that flower in mid- to late summer to enhance flowering.


You can slow or redirect tree growth by pruning soon after seasonal growth is complete. This is also a good time to remove damaged or hanging limbs.


You should avoid pruning your trees in the fall, as this is when fungi spread their spores most profusely and the wounds created by trimming tend to take longer to heal.

Professional Pruning Services in Atlanta

Hiring a professional arborist to prune your trees is recommended. They understand how to trim your trees to preserve and prevent them from damaging your property. The team at Gunnison Tree Services has extensive experience pruning trees throughout the Atlanta area, and we are fully certified and insured so you can trust your trees in our hands.

Call 404-386-3333 to schedule your appointment or request your FREE quote online.


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