Maintenance Never Stops: Are Your Trees In Need Of Winter Pruning?
When most homeowners think about tree care, they assume the work ends when winter hits. This common misconception can do a lot of harm since it leaves trees without the maintenance they need during the harsh winter months. Read on to find out about winter pruning to learn how it works and whether it will help to maintain a tree’s health.
What Is Winter Pruning?
Tree and Shrub Pruning, more generally, can be defined as the act of trimming off excess growth from deciduous plants. When this pruning occurs during the tree’s dormant season, it’s referred to as either winter pruning or dormant pruning.
What Are the Benefits of Winter Pruning?
Winter pruning doesn’t eliminate the need for ongoing tree maintenance during the active season. It does confer a few benefits, though. Here are the most essential of them:
Easier Evaluation of the Tree’s Structure
Winter pruning allows tree care professionals to better evaluate a tree’s structure to ensure that they are pruning off the right branches. During the spring through fall, deciduous trees are covered in leaves, making it difficult for arborists to see where they should be making their cuts. Appraising the tree when the branches are bare makes this essential step much easier.
Reduce Disease Transmission
Most tree diseases and pests spread readily during the summer and go dormant or die off during the winter. This makes winter the perfect time for pruning diseased trees to promote healthier growth come spring and reduce disease transmission to nearby healthy specimens.
Less Stress on Trees
Pruning during the active season stimulates new growth. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, this can damage or disfigure the tree. Winter pruning before the buds break gives the trees time to heal their wounds without stimulating new growth or creating an entry point for insects and pathogens.
Increase Production of Fruit Trees
Fruit-bearing trees need a lot of maintenance to ensure ample harvests of high-quality fruit. Part of that maintenance includes winter pruning. Pruning the tree when all its branches are easily visible allows tree care specialists to better guide its growth trajectory and ensure that all the leaves and fruit will have ample access to air and sunlight during the upcoming growing season. This is the best way to help a tree produce plentiful, high-quality fruit.
What Trees Should Not Be Pruned in the Winter?
Any tree or shrub that blooms on new growth can benefit from winter pruning. However, those that bloom on old growth must be pruned in the late spring or summer after the flowers have faded. Examples of trees and shrubs that should not be pruned in the winter include:
- Flowering dogwood
- Flowering almond
- Witch hazel
Speak with an arborist about the best time to prune these specimens. It’s usually late spring or early summer.
Schedule an Appointment Now
Whether property owners need one shade tree pruned or an entire orchard of fruit-bearing trees, they should always entrust this essential activity to a trained professional. Tree care companies are just as busy in the winter as they are during the active growing season, so schedule an appointment early for winter pruning to ensure that the company will have the time set aside to complete the job.