Why is there a best time to wire a tree?

I’ve heard ppl ask Ryan “when is the best time to wire xyz tree?” in the live streams. I’ve often wondered what they mean by this. Do ppl mean wire and prune? I’ve always had the assumption that if all you’re doing is setting structure that it’s okay to wire whenever. Just have the restraint required not to actually cut anything besides any obvious structural flaws…and at times I won’t even do that. Just bend a branch a bit.


Some species don’t like being bent outside specific periods of time… I have had a very bad experience with a light bend on a Juniperus rigida, for example.

For deciduous trees, it probably has something to do with the movement of sap.

Okay, I thought it could be that. I’ve experienced something akin to this with my hinoki. I worked it in June when it was moving sap like crazy. Bark was very easy to separate from the hardwood. One branch died because of this.

Thanks for the info though. If I’m going to do something, or in this case not do something, I want to know why.

I think it boils down to the fact that you basically want to maximize the healing capacity of growing season when you wire a tree. But it’s a balance of other factors too. IIRC, junipers are especially fragile in the spring, when the water is flowing so much that the cambium can easily separate and you’ll kill the branch. Wiring deciduous during the foliar growing season will just mean you are always playing catch up. Etc…

But personally, I think of it more as ‘there are bad times to wire’ rather than ‘there are best times to wire’