Pruning a Locust Tree

(Question)

I have a large locust tree in the back yard. Can i prune it nowsince the weather is cold but still mild?

(Answer)

This is a good question, especially this year, when mild weather has persisted well into December in the Toronto area.

Generally speaking, deciduous trees can be pruned at any time to remove any branches that are dead or diseased, or for shape. Many experts say that winter is in fact the best time to prune trees because they are dormant and it is possible to see the tree’s shape clearly once the leaves have fallen.

You should, however, be wary of pruning your honey locust (Gleditsia) as spring approaches and the sap begins to run. Like some other deciduous trees such as maples and lindens that bleed sap profusely in spring, the honey locust should ideally be pruned in early to mid-summer, after blooming has finished, to prevent excessive bleeding of sap.

If you are unsure of how to go about pruning, or if your tree is mature and large, you may want to consult a professional arborist. A listing of arborists and tree care specialists is available at Landscape Ontario: www.landscapeontario.com.