When to prune a locust tree

(Question)

What is the best time of year to prune a large locust tree in Oakville, ON?

 

(Answer)

Typically, the best time to prune many trees is late winter when the plant is still dormant and before the buds swell. It’s also easier to make pruning decisions as you can see the plant structure better without the leaves.

Dead, diseased, dangerous and damaged wood can be removed any time of year as needed.

Several trees are known by the name, locust. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), maples, birches and some other trees tend to bleed if pruned in the spring. Many arborists prefer to prune these ‘bleeders’ in mid-summer. It is more a cosmetic concern that a health issue.

To help you identify your tree, the black locust has white, fragrant flowers that dangle in long clusters. It blooms May to June. In comparison, the Honey Locust (Gleditsia tricanthos) is not prone to bleeding and it has clusters of inconspicuous yellow/green flowers in mid-June.

With a large tree it is recommended to leave pruning to qualified tree care professionals that have the proper equipment.  A listing of arborists and tree care specialists is available at Landscape Ontario: www.landscapeontario.com.