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The weather is getting warmer, the wildflowers are in full bloom, and here at emi landscape, we’re gearing up for another busy summer schedule. Our specialized crews are also preparing for our annual summer trimming and pruning sessions alongside the year-round upkeep tasks like mowing and fertilizing. 

People are sometimes surprised to learn that early summer is a key time for trimming and pruning. Often associated with the dormant winter months, cutting back trees and shrubs after they flower is an important part of ensuring their long-term health. In addition to improving the immediate appearance of your landscape, this type of maintenance increases the longevity of your trees, shrubs, and flowers. It should never be missed from your summer schedule. 

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about summer trimming and pruning, from the correct timing and technique to the benefits of expert maintenance. 

Trimming vs Pruning: What’s the Difference?

Although people often use the words trimming and pruning interchangeably, there is a significant difference between the two. In general, pruning applies to trees and larger shrubs, whereas trimming is reserved for smaller hedges, and although both serve a similar purpose, they require different tools and techniques. 

Pruning

Pruning is used to help trees and shrubs produce healthy fruit and flowers. It involves removing dead branches from the plant, giving new growth access to sunlight, and stimulating fresh growth. 

Pruning is also used to control disease or pest infestations, to prevent the problem from spreading to the rest of the tree. If a tree or shrub is required for decorative purposes, then pruning is used to shape the branches. 

Hand shears or lopping shears are the best equipment for this type of pruning. 

Trimming

Trimming is a technique used to spruce up the look of small hedges and shrubs by cutting off over-grown branches. In general, the aim of trimming is simply to make the plant look neater, but it has the bonus of clearing the way for healthy new growth. 

Landscapers normally use hedge trimmers for this task. 

Why is Summer Pruning Important?

Although winter pruning gets the most attention, there are a host of reasons that summer pruning should be on your seasonal maintenance schedule. In addition to the obvious aesthetic value, proper trimming and pruning have myriad health benefits. 

  • Small fruit trees like crab apples and cherries benefit from summer pruning, as it helps to remove overgrown branches that block their short flowering spurs. By giving these smaller twigs room to breathe, you can help encourage new fruit bud growth. 
  • Pruning in early summer can help to protect your trees and shrubs against fungal infections, as it removes the spores before they become airborne in early September. Prevention is always better than the cure!
  • Regular summer pruning helps to encourage healthy growth, particularly in climbing plants like jasmine and wisteria. 
  • Summer prunings can make your outdoor space safer by removing any loose, rotten, or low-hanging branches. This not only reduces the risk when bad weather strikes but also helps to prevent any unexpected accidents caused by falling branches. 

Pruning Tips for Summer

Although many trees and shrubs benefit from summer trimming and pruning, it’s worth noting that this technique isn’t suitable for all plants. When you prune depends entirely on when the plant flowers. The best time to prune a plant is after its initial flowering phase, as cutting it back too early could remove buds before they have time to bloom. 

At emi, we focus on six main categories for summer trimming and pruning: 

  • Evergreens – Spruce, Pine, Fir 
  • Spring-flowering shrubs – Viburnum, Spirea, Camellia, Azalea, Rhododendron
  • Fruit trees – Crabapple, Cherry, Peach
  • Climbers – Clematis, Wisteria, Sweet Pea, Crossvine, Jasmine
  • Hedges and topiary – Yews, Boxwood, Juniper

It is important to trim or prune shrubs and trees at the correct time to avoid causing damage to their growth pattern. If you aren’t a qualified horticulturist then it’s recommended that you use a professional landscape company with specialist knowledge of the local growing conditions. 

At emi, we have dedicated crews for every task, including pruning and trimming. Over the last two decades, we’ve developed the best techniques, timing, and equipment for landscaping in beautiful Pennsylvania, and provide annual summer services for clients across the region. In addition to trimming and pruning, we also dispose of all discarded branches properly, so they aren’t left to cause problems in your landscape. 

To learn more about emi’s summer trimming and pruning services, contact us via our maintenance page

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