In the Seattle area, we are lucky to have many ornamental trees and shrubs that grow well in our climate, adding charm and elegance to our landscapes. However, most of these ornamental trees still need pruning to achieve their traditional ornamental shapes.
At Tree Harmony Arborists, we can guide you through the art of pruning the most common ornamental trees and shrubs in Seattle. Use our expert tips to help your ornamental trees thrive and create a picturesque haven in your Seattle-area backyard.
Pruning Japanese Maples
Japanese maples are renowned for their stunning foliage and delicate branches. To prune these ornamentals, start by removing dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Aim for an open structure that allows sunlight to penetrate through the outer branches.
We often recommend pruning Japanese maples for clean-out and thinning in the winter. You can also prune in the summer after the leaves are full size, although excessive pruning may stress the tree.
Dogwoods have magnificent flowers and colorful bark that you can bring out with careful pruning. To encourage vibrant blooms, prune after flowering or when the tree is dormant in the late fall or winter.
Begin by removing diseased, weak, or crowded branches. Be cautious not to remove too much of the canopy, as it can hinder the tree’s ability to produce energy through photosynthesis.
Magnolias, with their fragrant blooms, are true showstoppers. Prune these trees in the mid-summer after the tree has finished blooming.
Focus on shaping the tree and removing any dead or diseased branches. Avoid extensive pruning, as it may diminish the tree’s ability to bloom the following season.
Stewartia trees captivate us with their beautiful peeling bark and delicate flowers. These trees grow slowly and don’t need much pruning, but it’s still a good idea to remove branches that are broken, crossing, or rubbing.
Prune stewartias during late winter or early spring to remove deadwood and shape the tree. Maintain a well-balanced structure, allowing light to reach the inner branches.
Pruning Ornamental Cherries
Ornamental cherry trees are a hallmark of Seattle’s springtime beauty, but they require careful pruning. These trees should ideally be pruned after the tree has started growing in the spring and late summer.
Start by removing dead or diseased wood and any crossing or rubbing branches. Younger trees are often pruned with 3-5 well-spaced, open main branches to serve as scaffolds for additional branches. Older trees typically require less structural pruning, just some thinning of twiggy branches to help light penetrate into the canopy.
Willows lend a graceful touch to any landscape with their weeping branches. Prune willows during late winter to early spring before the sap starts to flow. Pruning during the summer is generally not recommended, as it can lead to excessive sap bleeding.
As with pruning other ornamental trees, start by removing any weak, diseased, or dead branches. Try to maintain a balanced shape that retains the tree’s elegant form.
More Care Tips for Ornamental Trees
Here are a few more tips to help grow beautiful ornamental trees:
- Regularly inspect your trees for signs of disease, pests, or structural issues. If you see anything unusual, reach out to an arborist.
- Mulch around the base of your trees to conserve moisture, moderate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.
- Water your ornamentals deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth. You can ask an arborist for recommendations on watering particular trees in your landscape.
- Fertilize your trees for growth.
- Consult a professional arborist for an evaluation and personalized care plan for your trees.
Maintaining the health and beauty of ornamental trees and shrubs requires skill, knowledge, and dedication. As a property owner, you play a vital role in nurturing your landscape, but it’s sometimes best to hire a professional arborist.
At Tree Harmony Arborists, our team of skilled tree professionals has the expertise to prune your ornamental trees with precision, care, and artistry. With our arborists caring for your trees, you can enjoy a thriving yard or landscape in every season.
We are a registered tree service provider with the City of Seattle and provide tree pruning throughout the Puget Sound area. Contact Tree Harmony Arborists today for expert pruning, tree care advice, or tree health evaluations.