Removal of weak, diseased, or broken branches, along with double leaders or dead evergreen branches can be done at any time with little consequence to tree health. “Conifers may be pruned any time of year, but pruning during the dormant season may minimize sap and resin flow from cut branches” (Bedker et al., 1996).
Mulching with organic mulches (e.g. leaves, needles, hardwood and softwood bark and wood, grass, cocoa hulls, straw, etc.) helps to maintain tree health by aiding in water retention, inhibiting weed development, protecting from lawn mowing equipment, offering a layer of insulation during cold weather and adding organic matter into the soil (Carlson, 2003). At planting or transplanting time add a mulch layer 2-4″ deep around the tree as wide as you can tolerate but, to avoid stem damage, not against the trunk. Mature trees can be mulched at any time.
Providing adequate water is one of the most important things you can do to establish and maintain tree health. Watering newly planted/transplanted trees regularly for 3-5 years is critical in establishing healthy trees. Yearly rainfall amounts may or may not be adequate for new trees in the landscape or for established trees; therefore, pay particular attention during the summer and/or periods of drought. Established trees only need to be watered during drought-like conditions. Water until the ground freezes to help reduce the amount of winter damage.
Transplanting is defined as: the digging (aka. uprooting) of a plant from one location for the purpose of moving it to a new location. Typically, during this type of move lots of roots are lost.
Step 1: Things to do before you transplant. Part 1: Preparing for the Move (PDF)
Step 2: How to transplant. Part 2: Making the Move (PDF)
Spring is the best time to transplant softwood species like pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, false cypress, and Atlantic white cedar.
In the Midwest region, tree planting of bareroot trees and shrubs is best done when the plants are dormant in the spring or at the end of the growing season (fall). Balled and burlapped (B&B), containerized and container grown plants can be planted throughout the growing season, but with caution during the summer months. During the summer, heat and periods of drought are tough on newly planted trees and shrubs.