Pruning Trees in Fall

Q: We have several limbs on big oak and pine trees that need to be cut off. My husband says it should’t be done until the sap is out of the limbs in December. I think it needs to be done sooner. What is your opinion?

A: In my opinion, your husband is a smart man. Having spent last weekend cutting and hauling tree limbs to the curb, I can testify that cutting limbs in December would be a much more pleasant experience.

On the other hand, there is no reason that the job can’t be accomplished now. As long as he uses the 3-cut method of first removing the majority of the limb length, then carefully cutting off the remaining short stub, limbs can be taken off now.

A rule of thumb is that no more that 1/4 of the total foliage on a woody plant should be taken away during the growing season. Your trees seem large enough that this should not be a problem. If you pledge to make plenty of lemonade for him and to position a big fan near his sawing area I feel sure he will remove the limbs expeditiously.

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