Q: When is the best time to prune trees and shrubs?

A: Pruning can be done anytime throughout there year. Doramnt season pruning in fall and early spring is ideal, you can see the shape better and disease pathogens/insects are also dormant. This means less chance of infecting your tree or shrub during this time. 

Trees have few exceptions which include maple, birch and walnut. These should be pruned in July when they are in full leaf. This will prevent unwanted sap flow from oozing out of the wounds.  By law, in Alberta, Elm trees cannot  be pruned from April 1st until September 30th. This is in place to prevent Dutch Elm Disease

Certain Shrubs such as lilac form thier flower buds the previous year. In this case, pruning should be done right after your shrub has finsihed flowering in the spring. Pruning at any other time will give you few to no flowers the following season. 

No more than 1/3 of a trees canopy should be pruned per season. Always be sure to disinfect your pruning tools after each cut to prevent spreading disease.

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