What Time of Year is Best for Tree Surgery?

Tree surgery is an essential part of maintaining your landscape. It involves the care, maintenance and repair of trees to ensure their health for years to come. Here at Broadleaf Tree Surgery, we’ve done our fair share of tree maintenance and want to provide you with a guide for the best time of year to have your trees worked on. This helps to ensure your garden remains a green haven. 

So when is the best time of year for tree surgery? The best time is when the trees are dormant. This is typically during the months between September to March but it is dependent on the type of tree. Considerations should be made such as the type of tree, the growth stage, the tree’s health and the reason for the surgery. 

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the best practices for tree surgery with the experts at Broadleaf Tree Surgery. 

When is Best to Do Tree Surgery?

The type of tree will decide when it is best to perform tree surgery. It can depend on a number of factors such as the variety of tree’s seasonality, disease or even health. These factors will dictate what type of surgery needs to be performed, as will the actual work that needs to be undertaken.

Work that might be affected by seasonality can include:

Let’s review each of our services in full to see when is the best time of year to have these services carried out.


It is best to prune a tree during its dormant stage. This is often during the winter as the tree is no longer sending sap into the leaves to perform photosynthesis, or withdrawing nutrients to preserve itself for winter. But this can differ depending on the type of tree:

  • Evergreens should be pruned when they stop growing, usually in late spring. 
  • Oak should be pruned when they are dormant, from October to early March. 
  • Woody trees such as Dogwood and Pine are suitable for pruning when dormant as their form and shape are most clear. 
  • Deciduous trees suit pruning during late winter as there is less of a risk of disease and pests. 

To find out more, check out our post on pruning


When shaping a tree, you need to take into account what species it is. Many trees should be shaped during late summer when their ability to heal is most effective. Yet cherry trees, for example, are best shaped during mid-summer to reduce the risk of silver leaf disease. Deciduous trees, such as oak and aspen, are shaped easier in the winter due to dormancy.  

Limb Removal

Limb removal is also performed during the dormant stage. This is because it causes the least amount of stress on the tree and provides the least exposure to insects and diseases such as ash dieback. We also recommend that limb removal should only be carried out when the trees are younger to help maintain aesthetics and the overall health of the tree. 


The best time of year to fell a tree is during the colder months. This is because the tree is dormant during this time and also won’t be home to any nesting sites. During the winter months,  the ground is not as easily disturbed and the surrounding vegetation will be kept safe. 

There is legislation in place to protect trees. Tree preservation orders are in place by local authorities to protect trees from any wilful damage without consent. This is done if it’s felt that the removal of the tree will negatively affect the environment and the public’s enjoyment.  

If you are planning on felling a tree, you need to know how to proceed legally and safely. If you are looking for more information on tree removal, check out our blog on  ‘Cutting down trees’’.  

Alternatively, if you need assistance with tree removal and live in Kent or the South East of England, contact our dedicated team today for any assistance. 

Crown Lifting

Crown lifting should be performed when the tree is dormant, typically in winter or early spring. This will make the surgery easier as the leaves won’t be in the way. There isn’t a risk of the tree bleeding or weeping during dormancy. Other types, such as birch or prunus, should be lifted during summer to prevent bleeding or silver leaf. 

If you live in Kent, or are located in the South East of England, and you are looking for a dedicated team to assist you in crow lifting, contact our team today. 

If you are after more information on crown lifting, then why not check out our other blog ‘What is Crown Tree Lifting?

When to Prune Trees for Health

Pruning should be done to stimulate the growth of healthy branches and buds. As discussed, when this is done depends on the species of tree.

Species Optimal Time To Prune
Acica Spring (Late)
Apple Winter (Mid)
Ash Spring to Summer (Late)
Birch Summer to Winter (Mid)
Beech Summer (Late) to Autumn
Elm Spring (Late) to Summer
Oak Autumn to Winter
Cedar Winter (Mid to Late)
Cypress Spring (Late) to Summer (Early)
Fir Spring (Late) to Summer (Early)
Hemlock Summer (Late)
Pine Spring (Late)
Spruce Summer (Late)
Yew Summer (Late) or Winter (Late)

Dead branches can be identified by the lack of foliage and brittle texture. Diseased branches can be identified by discoloured, dead or wilted leaves and oozing sap. By recognising these, you can help maintain the health and safety of your trees. 

When to Cut Trees to Avoid Storm Damage

It is best to trim your trees before a storm if you suspect there is a risk to the tree and its surroundings. Yet some practices can be followed to maintain your tree before then. This can include: 

  • Allowing the roots to grow to provide a stable tree and not smothering them with excessive soil. 
  • Not reducing the size of your tree via topping. Topping will lead to the branch’s attachment being weak and internal decay. This makes the tree prone to breakages during a storm. 
  • Not lion’s tailing your tree. This process is the stripping of the interior foliage and branches, leaving the weight remaining at the end of the branches. These branches are then prone to failure during a storm. 

If you are concerned about the potential damage a storm may bring, it’s best to contact a professional tree surgeon such as us at Broadleaf Tree Surgery. We will ensure the safety of both your tree and your property. 

When You Shouldn’t Do Tree Surgery

You should avoid tree surgery during the spring season. This is because the trees receive more sunlight, begin their blossom and start to expand their roots. If tree surgery is performed during spring, there is a risk that the tree could become vulnerable to disease. Yet, emergency works can be performed if necessary to save the tree or your property. 

A service we do offer during the spring season is tree planting. If you want to give your garden some new life or replace the trees you’ve had removed, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

Get Professional Help From Broadleaf Tree Surgery

Tree surgery is key maintenance to ensure the health and happiness of your trees, home and garden. When carrying out work, it’s crucial to not only consider the species of tree but also the tools you are using to perform the job. 

It is best to have professionals perform tree surgery due to the risk of working at height with dangerous tools. The busiest season is during the dormant time and it’s good to contact our expert tree surgeons in advance of the work you need carrying out. 

If you need any assistance or a professional tree surgeon, do not hesitate to contact Broadleaf Tree Surgery to help your trees live long, healthy lives. 


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