Phoenix | Mesa | Chandler | Scottsdale
Tempe | Gilbert
(And other low-lying Arizona desert cities)
Pruning can be done almost year-round in this climate. However, there are times that are more optimal for different tree varieties.
Winter (November – February)
Winter is a great time to prune! While many people wait for monsoon season to prune, we like to get in and prune during cooler months. Why?
- We have room on the schedule. In the summer, we tend to get booked pretty far out.
- Deciduous trees: Without the leaves it is easier to see the branch structure, so we can make better, more informed cuts.
- Winter pruning is less stressful for heat-sensitive trees
Pine trees, other conifers and deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves, such as ash, elm, plum, peach and mulberry) are best pruned during cooler months. When the leaves are off, it makes it easy to see the structure of the tree to know where to prune and it’s also a low stress time for the trees. Frost-sensitive trees such as ficus and citrus should be pruned only lightly, or not at all, during colder months.
Spring (March – April)
Many trees develop flowers and fruit in the spring, increasing the weight of tree limbs. Spring can often be an important time to prune back excessively heavy limbs before they fail. Citrus season is in the late winter or early spring (Feb-Apr). It’s best to prune citrus trees just before the flowering of the new year’s fruit. Spring is often the best opportunity to conduct heavy pruning on heat-sensitive trees such as ficus and citrus. Also, unwieldy trees should be pruned back to guard against monsoon season storm damage.
Summer (May – August)
Summer is the best time to prune fast-growing, drought-tolerant trees, both native and imports, including palo verde, sissoo, mesquite, willow acacia, palo brea, and african sumac. Monsoon season can start as early as mid-June, and can be very destructive to overgrown trees. If heavy trees have not yet been pruned back, it is imperative to prune before the storms hit. The precipitation from monsoon-season storms weighs the tree limbs down, while the high winds lashes them about. It can be very destructive for heavy tree branches. Heat-sensitive trees such as ficus and citrus should be pruned only lightly in summer months.
Fall (September – October)
Once it starts to cool down, most trees that are not overly frost-sensitive can be pruned in fall.
Additional resources from U of A Extension Services: