Trees in the yard can serve many purposes, from giving shade on a hot afternoon to providing a windbreak. Ornamental trees are popular as a focal point in gardens, while a backyard fruit tree gives shade, beauty and a harvest. Whether you trim the tree to maintain its shape or prevent disease, it's important not to cause more harm.
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Trim broken branches on a sapling before spring planting.
Trim elms, dogwoods, maples, yellowwoods and birches in the late summer to prevent "bleed." Avoid trimming apple trees in the summer.
Ornamental trees should be trimmed in the fall, after they've lost the blooms.
Avoid trauma to trees by pruning in the winter while they're dormant.
Trimming Damaged Limbs
Prune split or broken limbs and branches immediately rather than splinting them, and let cuts heal on their own. Dressing may keep the wood damp and encourage decay.