Trimming tips for trees in Florida

All plants require some special knowledge – how much water and sunlight they like, what fertilizers are best for them, and when to prune them. Knowing how to take care of trees, shrubs and plants can keep them healthy and beautiful for many years.

Raising healthy trees and other plants in Florida’s warm, humid climate presents some specific issues that need to be addressed by would-be landscapers, but it can be a year-round hobby as well.

Most regions of the United States have specific periods of the year that are better for pruning and trimming trees. For the majority of Florida, however, the weather is warm enough that trimming can be done at any time of the year.

Remember that trimming only means mild shaping and small limb removal. Pruning is much more invasive and should only be done in the warmest summer months, from late March to early October. Even though Florida temperatures don’t get frigid, cooler weather can still damage a freshly pruned tree.

Palm Trees

Palm trees are everywhere you look in Florida. If you have some in your yard that you really want to take care of, here are a few things you should know. First of all, you should never cut the tree off at the trunk because it will die.

If your tree is a solitary variety, it cannot be cut back. If the palm tree is a clustering variety, you can thin out the bunch by cutting some trunks to the ground so that others can grow larger.

Some varieties of palm trees will shed their dead leaves, called fronds, without any trimming being necessary. Other varieties need to be trimmed. If the tree grows very tall, it will be necessary to call a professional, although many people let the dead fronds hang around at the base of the new growth.

Other Tree Varieties

For most other tree varieties, trimming tips are basically the same across the board. To cut down on the amount of trimming you have to do, space the trees out when you are planting them so they have plenty of room to stretch in all directions. Also, choose trees that grow slowly so you will not have to trim them often.

You should not trim a tree that has just been planted. Definitely don’t do any major pruning until the tree is a little older. You should only trim a young tree after its root system is firmly established. When in doubt, ask an expert’s opinion before you make a grievous error that cannot be corrected on a young tree.

When you do trim the tree, make cuts that are parallel with the trunk of the tree. Don’t cut limbs too close or too far away from the trunk. Both of these errors can cause lifelong damage to the tree. If you are trimming small leaders, cut them at the nodes, not in between. This will result in stunted growth and an untrained tree shape.