Best Time of Year to Trim a Tree

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Tom in South Carolina who needs some help in the garden. What can we do for you today?

    TOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I’ve got a corner of the yard that’s been kind of neglected and I’ve got two Crepe myrtle trees over there and they’ve never, ever been trimmed. So they’re – you know how Crepe myrtles have just bare, barkless-type trunks and branches going up to a canopy?

    TOM: Yeah. They’re beautiful.

    TOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Whereas these trees are just – they’re bushy from top to bottom. And I’m just wondering – yeah, they’ve never been trimmed and I’m just wondering when I should trim the trees and if I should do it all at once or – what’s the best time of year or is it too late to do it?

    LESLIE: Well, let’s see. If you’re looking to – and it sounds like you are – reshape and sort of encourage new growth and size maintenance, there’s really two key times and that’s late winter or early spring. Because you want to do that when the tree has entered dormancy so that you’re not going to damage it or encourage new growth off-season or sort of delay dormancy in the tree. So really, late winter or early spring; that’s the best time to do it. And I think what you really need is a good, fresh start.

    And there’s actually a good website called and it’s G-a-r-d-e-n-a-l-i-t-y. And if you go there and do a search on Crepe myrtle trimming, you’re actually going to find diagrams, what to remove, what to keep. And it’ll give you an idea of what it’s supposed to look like so you know where to go.

    And just as a fun tip, the little pieces that grow up at the bottom and sort of take over and become like a big bush rather than a tree?

    TOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Yeah, exactly.

    LESLIE: Those are called suckers and I just think that’s funny. But I would wait. Give it a little bit more time, wait for the winter to sort of set in and then go at it.

    TOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Great. Well, thank you.

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