The Importance Of Proper Landscape Pruning After Recent Ice Storm Damage

In basic terms, the word ‘landscape’ means ‘make land look better’. In a broader sense, landscaping is the technique or method of enhancing the appearance of land (i.e.: your property) by altering its contours and planting trees and shrubs for aesthetic effect.

The ice storms that hit Toronto in late December 2013 certainly wreaked havoc with the aesthetics of residential and commercial properties, resulting in a need for pruning countless trees and shrubs, in the immediate aftermaths of the storms and in the coming months as well.

There are essentially two main reasons for landscape pruning:

  • Health – To promote faster healing and/or seasonal growth
  • Aesthetics – To restore visual appeal (both shape and size)

The severe weather conditions over the last several weeks might have affected both the health and aesthetic appeal of your trees and shrubs. However, it is important to note that improper landscape pruning may actually cause further damage, by impairing recovery and growth, if it is done at an inappropriate time or to an inappropriate extent.

The removal of dead wood and broken branches is a major pruning activity. As a result, it should be carried out in the proper fashion, and at the right time of the year based on the type of tree or shrub, to ensure that it achieves the desired effect of restoring health and/or aesthetic appeal. It may be prudent to consult with a professional landscaping company that offers pruning services before attempting to trim any tree/shrub damage.

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Prune Your Trees And Shrubs?

The arrival of spring weather often triggers the impulse to prune all of the trees and/or shrubbery within your property. This is a natural reaction, since springtime is associated a return to life, so to speak, for lawns and gardens after the doldrums of winter.

Despite the urge to ‘get all the pruning done as soon as the weather allows’, landscape pruning actually has seasonal implications – in other words, for best results, certain types of trees and shrubs should be pruned or trimmed at different times throughout the year. Pruning, in essence, should be incorporated into a landscaping plan.

Just as the calendar year is segmented into four different seasons, there are also four loosely-defined pruning seasons within a yearly landscaping calendar. Here is a synopsis of each pruning season, including a few examples of which trees and shrubs should be addressed in each case:

Late Winter (late February to early March)

  • Night time temperatures at or just below freezing
  • Willows, Japanese Maples, Yews, Euonymus, and Spirea

Spring (early June)

  • Spring-flowering trees and shrubs after they have flowered
  • Lilacs, Forsythia, Cherry, and Crabapple

Early Summer

  • Before temperatures get too high/too hot
  • Cedars, Yews, Pine, and Spruce

Late Summer/Early Fall

  • Summer-flowering trees and shrubs after they have flowered
  • Wisteria, Holly, Hydrangea, Hibiscus, and Ivy

While pruning is essential for the health and/or visual appeal of your trees and shrubs, it also has a degree of delicacy in terms of how and when it is done. It may sound like a simple and straightforward task but it can be quite complex and time-consuming as well.

Whether you require landscape pruning due to ice storm damage or are considering a professional service to address and manage all of your residential or commercial landscaping needs, call Landcare today at 416-410-0320 or contact us to request a consultation.