Tree Service Alexandria VA

When to do Tree Trimming or Removal in Alexandria

When to do Tree Trimming or Removal in Alexandria

Most people don’t think that trees need maintenance or that some trees need to be removed. You probably have seen a tree being cut, but dismissed it as a passing activity that you probably wouldn’t have to contend with. That’s until your neighbors start complaining about your tree branches encroaching their property or you have a home expansion project that unfortunately demands a tree to be removed from your backyard. Tree trimming or removal in Alexandria is after all not an uncommon task, but it’s not the only tree service people need from companies like ours.


Pruning and trimming are common tree services. Both probably mean the same thing to you, but professionals don’t think about them the same way. In a nutshell, pruning preserves the health of a tree, while trimming is done for aesthetic reasons. Pruning involves removing decayed or infected branches to stop the decay from spreading to other parts of the tree. Trimming is done to give a tree a desired look.

When to prune and trim trees

In winter

Pruning is usually done in winter when trees don’t have leaves. The absence of leaves allows for better inspection of tree parts. You can easily see diseased or decaying twigs or branches. Pruning in winter, thus, ensures good growth throughout spring and summer. However, only prune your trees and shrubs during sunnier days of winter, and never attempt to do it in inclement weather.

Note that some trees may bleed when pruned. Examples are beech, birch, elm, maple, and mulberry. You will notice sap oozing from their cut branches. The sap isn’t harmful, and bleeding doesn’t mean the tree is going to lose water and wither.

In summer

Summertime pruning is quite common, too, and is done to check growth. Overgrowth of branches can be problematic in urban and suburban settings. Branches hanging into the neighbor’s property or bearing weight on your house’s roofing may have to be eliminated. Also, professionals may trim the canopy to thin the treetop and allow more light to reach the lower regions of the tree.

Trees, like all plants, get food through photosynthesis, a process that happens in the leaves. When you prune a tree, you’re reducing its number of leaves and shutting down some of the tree’s food factories. This slows down its growth for some time.

Pruning in summer also corrects tree growth. Maybe you wish a more symmetrical growth or you want the tree to be more lush on one side.

Should you prune in autumn?

Trees slow down their growth and regeneration during fall, which is why we don’t prune in months leading to winter, because slow recovery times make trees vulnerable to fungi. Add that most types of fungi that infect trees spread spores in autumn, and you significantly raise the risk of fungal diseases among trees.


You prune smaller branches and twigs, but you cut tree branches and limbs. There’s some disagreement among tree surgeons regarding the terminologies here. Some specialists use cutting only to mean cutting a tree at the trunk, thereby killing it. Cutting branches and limbs is usually done for more important reasons to remove damaged or dead branches to stop the decay or disease from invading larger areas, if not all, of the tree.

Tree limbs at the top may also be cut to reduce the height of a tree or open up the canopy for the same reason stated above: allow more sunlight in the lower parts of the tree.

While we do tree pruning in Alexandria all year round, the best time to do it is in winter when trees are bare and the cold weather retards fungal growth and infections to cut and pruned branches or limbs. Pruning and trimming in summer and fall makes trees open to fungi and parasites, which can damage any tree, but that doesn’t mean we won’t prune your hedges and shrubbery in summer.

Again, expect that trees will bleed when you cut them. You don’t need to do anything when this happens aside from letting the sap leak out. The oozing sap looks unpleasant, but it’s not anything serious. It’s not like the tree will die of fluid loss. However, you may plug the cut with dressings or paint. Use products designed for trees. Do not use building or construction paint. Nonetheless, the tree will be fine if you just let it bleed.


We at Alexandria Tree Services salvage trees as much as possible. Tree removal is seen as the last resort when all conservative options fail, and we only do this when a dying tree poses risk to other trees, people, houses, or buildings nearby.

On the other hand, a dying tree in the wilderness may well be left to wither alone because it poses no risk. Also known as snags or wildlife trees, dead trees aren’t entirely useless in the environment, for they can be home to birds, bats, spiders, ants, and other creatures.

Can a dying tree still be saved?

Just because much of a tree is decaying, that doesn’t mean that you need to have it uprooted. You can still save it for whatever purpose by cutting the dead parts and monitoring the health of the remaining parts. This can be expensive and demanding. You will have to ensure the tree gets as much water as it needs.

Another problem with keeping diseased trees is safety concerns in the neighborhood. Your neighbors may not agree to your salvaging of a diseased tree. They may fear that it’s a standing hazard that can fall on an unsuspecting passerby. Dying trees can also fall into your or someone else’s house. If that’s your tree, you are liable for the damages.

How can you determine whether a tree is worth saving or whether you should just get rid of it?

You can only do as far as looking at the trunk and the lower branches of your tree to see if there’s any sign of disease or decay. But only an arborist or a tree specialist in Alexandria can take a closer look at every part of the tree from top to bottom to see the extent of decay or damage. An arborist can then tell you which makes more sense — to save it or to let it go. If the tree specialist deems your tree unsafe for you and everyone else, then its removal shall be arranged.

Tree trimming and removal are specialized tasks that shouldn’t be performed by average gardeners or handymen. Call us at 571-371-0282 if you have questions about your trees.

Scroll to Top