Cutting suckers off a river birch

Asked March 22, 2020, 10:16 AM EDT

Can I cut 4 suckers off a young river birch now, or do I need to wait until late summer or fall? I read that sap flows freely in spring and it is not advisable to prune then. The suckers are no more than 1/2-inch thick at most.

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

Good morning. You are correct that birches bleed sap when pruned in early spring. Fortunately, this is not harmful to the tree. If you want to minimize the sap flow, you can wait until the new leaves are fully expanded in late spring or early summer-- it will bleed less if you prune it then.