When can I prune my birch tree?

Asked April 28, 2020, 4:42 PM EDT

I'd like to remove some of the lower branches of the birch tree in my yard (see attached photo) to raise the crown and make it easier to walk under. I'd like to do it now (almost May), but don't want to create wounds the tree can't heal or make it more susceptible to pests. What would you advise? -Joe

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for your concern about the health of your birch. The birches (at least mine) have come out of dormancy so I would wait until late fall, if not the winter when the clump is dormant.

Birches pruned in the winter the wounds will "bleed" a profuse amount of sap in the spring, but that is OK.

If you must prune now, the tree will "bleed" sap, but you should seal the wound with shellac.

The bottom line is now is not the best time.