A question we’re often asked relates to the timing of when to cut down or prune a tree. People want to know whether it’s better to do this in the early spring, or perhaps it doesn’t make a difference and they can put it off into summer.

Our advice in general is, if your tree has to come down, it’s better to do before the leaves have bloomed. If it needs pruning, the timing depends on the type of tree. Read on to find out more.


Cutting Trees is Better Done in Early Spring


Why is it better to cut down trees in the late winter or early spring, before the leaves have bloomed?

In the case of tree cutting, the answer has to do with sheer weight. Leaves add weight and bulk to a tree. That makes it a bit more cumbersome to access the branches for cutting and adds to the weight of the cutting and 

carting processes, meaning more time and effort is required.

At Croft Tree Experts in Ottawa, we start to get pretty busy during the spring months, and of course summer is our peak season. If you have a sick, dying or dead tree that needs attention or cutting, early to mid spring is a good time to have us come out. Certain tree diseases like black knot are easier to spot before the leaves come out; if you happen to notice this on your tree, get in touch with us and we’ll come out to take a look.

That’s not to say we don’t cut trees in the summer. The warm season in Ottawa is a short one, sadly, so if you have a tree that needs to be cut down, summer works fine. It’s just that the cost and time could go up a little due to the extra effort needed with the leaves on the tree.

You Can Also Prune in the Spring – But Be Aware of the Limits


Pruning a tree has a similar labour component to it. It might make sense to get out ahead of the leaf blossom, as it would be easier to prune the branches of the tree. You’ll notice the dead, dying or sick branches on the tree while the leaves are still off, and you can get to them for trimming or cutting more easily.

Be careful not to prune more than 10% of the branches, though.

Oak trees and elm trees are good to prune in the late fall, winter or very early spring. Waiting until the leaves bloom on these trees and then pruning can leave them more exposed to disease and infestation.

Excessive spring pruning can limit the tree’s leaf blossom potential for the rest of the year.

Some trees, such as maple, birch or walnut, have sap. It can get a little messy pruning these trees in the late winter or early spring, as they’re still sticky. Other trees to wait for spring leaf blooms before pruning include apple, crab-apple, cherry, plum, lilac and magnolia.

Croft Tree Experts Can Help with Tree Pruning and Cutting Down Trees in Ottawa


If you have trees in or around Ottawa that need pruning or cutting, contact us to find out how we can help. We’re Ottawa’s experts in tree services, with an arborist on our staff and years of experience with trees of all kinds.