With the Australian summer providing its usually high quota of perfect, sunny days tailor-made for time spent in the great outdoors, it can seem like there is no better time to hit the garden maintenance to-do list. It might not be the best time for your trees, though, as they deal with the harsh onslaught of the searing summer sun.

There are plenty of different reasons why you'll need to engage in tree lopping or tree pruning, and the most opportune time of year for your pruning adventures depends entirely on your garden goal. Whether you're aiming to promote growth, shape your garden, or stunt a particularly unruly tree, picking the right time of year to attack the project can go a long way to ensuring that you reach your target.

Summer: Prune in the hottest season when you're looking to limit the growth of the plant. The plant will already be dealing with surviving through the harsh summer heat and will not have as much energy to direct into regeneration. For this reason, it's also important to only prune away dead or diseased limbs from the plant and not undergo any heavy tree lopping. 

Autumn: Tree lopping and pruning during the autumn period provides no real added advantage to general pruning duties, but is an optimum time to get ahead of the game if the opportunity to do so hasn't arisen in any of the other seasons.

Winter: The latter half of winter is the best stage of the year to begin pruning if you're looking to promote healthy plant growth. The more you can prune in winter, the more vivacious the regrowth will be for the plant. This also applies to freshly placed plants; don't be afraid of pruning immediately after planting as the winter period can still provide a healthy stage of rejuvenation.

Spring: Pruning towards the beginning of spring can also be helpful in stimulating plant growth. Tree lopping during this time is most important for larger trees where it's important to be able to see branch structure, as the spring foliage will come in thick and fast and it can be important to maintain an understanding and some control of your tree.

Keeping your plants and garden in optimal condition is a year-round endeavour, but the fruits of your labour can be glorious. By picking the right time of year to trim back the plants in your garden, you can make sure that they are given every opportunity to be a part of something greater.