June is the time when many evergreens have finished their new growth, which means you can prune them without worrying about additional new growth. The best way to be sure they are ready to prune is to watch the needle or leaf color at the end of the branches. New conifer needles are lighter green and feel softer than older needles. New broad leaf evergreen leaves are smaller and lighter green. When the new growth is finished, the needles and leaves will begin to darken. This is the time to prune because the wood is still soft. Pruning too early results in additional new growth and the need to reprune.
Shrub pruning may be a relatively safe do-it-yourself job, but we don’t recommend that you attempt major tree pruning. Pruning a large pine or spruce tree can be very dangerous for several reasons.
• Leaving the ground to reach the upper branches can result in serious injury or even death if you fall from high up in the tree.
• Those needles are sharp, especially if they fall on you or whip around and hit you. If this happens up in the tree, you can fall, adding to the injuries caused by the branch.
• Each cut lets more messy sap ooze out to get all over you.
Please wear eye protection when pruning any size evergreen. If you are pruning over head, wear a hard hat. And, if you are using power tools, wear ear protection, too.
When pruning broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons and boxwoods, follow the same procedures as pruning deciduous trees. In the case of tight plants like boxwood, cuts can be made just above a leaf’s attachment to the branch. Cuts on looser plants like rhododendrons should be made at a branch joint or at the base of the branch you want to remove.
Our arborists would be happy to take pruning of both shrubs and trees off your to do list. Since our late spring has caused you to postpone many spring landscaping tasks, I’m sure you’d be happy to share the work, so why not turn this one over to our professionals?