Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by woodcutter
I believe we can agree that pruning trees are a very crucial activity. It does both you and your trees good. But, perhaps you wonder, when is the best time to prune your trees? Winter is the ideal time to grab your shears and prune your trees. Proper timing when pruning your trees will ensure that your trees are attractive, well structured, healthy, and productive. Try it- the results will amaze you. In this post I’m going get into detail about benefits of winter tree pruning. Read through and learn more.
1. Winter pruning lets you evaluate tree structure
During the cold winter months, many trees enter dormancy. It is that time of the year when deciduous trees shed off their leaves and wait for spring to produce new growth. Deciduous trees enter dormancy to survive the shallow temperatures and the lack of water caused by icing and frost. This is an excellent time for you to get your trees pruned.
Many people would think that an arborist will find it difficult when it comes to determining which branches need to be removed when there are no leaves on the branches. However, this is not the case. An arborist who knows his stuff will probably identify a live branch versus a dead branch. The presence of buds on a branch serves as an indicator for which branches are alive in winter.
The absence of foliage at this time also gives arborists a clear view of the trees. This enables them to select and remove appropriate branches. When pruning, it’s essential first to prune out dead and diseased branches, especially those caused by the winter’s snow and ice.
For evergreen trees like pine, spruce, and fir, little pruning is required. Then late winter is the best time for removing unwanted lower branches from evergreen trees.
Shade trees, like oak, sweetgum, maple, katsura, and hornbeam, should be pruned in late winter.
You want your trees to be safe and to look their best. Pruning your trees in winter guarantees you that.
2. Winter pruning prevents the spread of diseases
Did you know that a myriad of diseases spread during spring and summer? These include Dutch elm disease, fire blight, aspen leaf blight, and cedar hawthorn rust. Certain varieties of trees like oaks and elms are susceptible to infections if they are pruned during the warmer season.
However, the great news is that during winter, disease-causing organisms like bacteria, fungi, and insects are either dead or inactive. They can not stand the cold. This implies that diseases are less likely to be transmitted during this time of the year than during spring or summer.
Example: Oak wilt management
If you have oak trees, dormant pruning is recommended for your trees to be immune to wilt.
Oaks emit an odor that attracts a type of beetle. This beetle is a vector for fungus, which causes oak wilt. This disease is dangerous and can kill your oak trees. However, the beetle hibernates in winter, making it the ideal time to prune.
Maybe every winter, you have been throwing away your shears, thinking winter pruning is not good. However, if you want your trees to be healthy, winter pruning is the way to go.
3. Winter pruning promotes growth
Though pruning, in general, can be tricky, its benefits outweigh its problems. If you make mistakes, you can damage your trees. However, proper winter pruning is all your trees need for them to grow well. Winter tree pruning ensures healthy new growth.
If you prune your trees in winter, you will be amazed by how well they will grow in the warmer months that follow.
You should note that shoots and suckers usually sprout after pruning. You can nip them out before they grow out of control.
4. It prevents damaging trees
Like I said earlier, tree pruning is not just a cushy task you can do. There is a high risk of damaging your beloved trees if it is not done properly, at the right time. For you to avoid damaging your trees, winter pruning is highly recommended.
The fresh pruning cuts you make when you prune your trees heal pretty fast in winter. This prevents them from being damaged by destructive pests like mountain pine beetles that are active during spring and summer.
Furthermore, new growth is not stimulated during winter. This means that no further growth can be destroyed by cold weather. Hence your trees can not be disfigured when you prune them during the cold winter season.
Furthermore, some trees like maples, birch, and aspen won’t bleed a lot of sap when pruned in winter. This is so because of the way trees manage water during winter. It is, therefore, the best time to prune such trees.
The ground is frozen during winter in many places. When the ground is frozen, pruning your tree will have a less damaging effect on your tree’s functional root zone.
If you live in regions where the ground freezes in winter, why not take advantage of this and prune your trees in winter. You want your trees to be safe anyway!
5. Winter pruning improves recovery
Maybe you are worried about those cuts that are left on your tree when you trim it. You don’t necessarily have to worry. Trimming your trees during winter will ensure that your tree will recover better in the spring. And the cuts on your trees after pruning seal best when spring strikes. Try it, and you will be amazed by how well your trees will recover.
6. Your trees will look better in spring
If you are a nature fanatic and a lover of trees that look attractive, then prune them during the winter. You will be shocked by how beautiful they will look in spring. Most trees that are pruned during the cold winter months tend to look better during spring and summer. This is so because pruning helps your trees to develop a strong and attractive structure.
7. Winter pruning promotes safety
In many places, winters can be characterized by storms and heavy snow. This can be a hazard to people and your property. Heavy snow on a weak branch can cause it to come crashing down on whatever is below it.
It is said prevention is better than cure. Pruning your trees in winter will probably prevent such danger by ensuring that damaged branches are removed. This keeps you, other people, and your property safe.
8. Winter pruning makes fruit trees more fruitful
Fruits are loved by many for their incredible taste and health benefits. If you have fruit trees, you would want to maximize their productivity. Pruning your fruit trees at the right time will do you and your trees good.
To maximize fruit production, you should prune your fruit trees in winter before spring buds or flowers appear. Pruning your fruit tree will ensure it grows well and bear more fruits. Furthermore, the branches of trees pruned in winter tend to be strong enough to hold the fruit.
9. Winter pruning helps shape your trees to grow in the manner best for your property
Some trees tend to grow too big for your liking. You would not want your trees to grow in such a way that they interfere with structures or walkways. To avoid this, it’s essential to prune your trees and shape them just the way you want them to appear. It is essential to do this in winter.
10. Tree services will have lower prices during slower seasons
Did you know that winter tree pruning is also benefiting your wallet? Since many people think that tree care is done during the warmer months, the tree services business is much slower in winter. This means that many tree services will have lower prices during this time of the year. If you want to save some money, then get your trees pruned in winter.
11. Winter pruning will increase space for your trees
Perhaps, your trees have grown quite big with branches overlapping each other, and then winter pruning is all you need to do. Prune your trees in winter to give them extra space to grow properly. This will ensure that each tree can receive enough sunlight without any other tree getting in the way.
12. Less damage on your yard and landscape
In areas where the ground freezes, you might consider pruning your trees during winter since that is when heavy equipment used for pruning does less damage for your yard and landscape. This reduces costs for you.
13. Winter tree pruning allows weather preparation
In some places, winter weather can be extreme and severe. In such environments, removing weak and damaged limbs will leave your tree stronger and able to withstand the frigid winter temperatures.
Other benefits of winter tree pruning
- It can be difficult to identify potentially competing parts of a tree or branches representing a safety risk. However, a certified arborist can strategically remove these parts from your tree. Winter is the ideal time for this to be done since no foliage will be in the way. This will ensure that the arborists will have a better view of the tree.
- Pruning out of the growing season can prevent the sprouting of weaker shoots. This will promote more substantial growth during spring.
A note about spring and summer pruning
Although winter tree pruning is beneficial, not all trees should be pruned in winter. Some trees bloom on new growth, and these should be pruned in winter. On the other hand, some trees bloom on old growth should be pruned in late spring or summer, after their flowers fade.
In other words, trees that produce flowers in early spring develop their buds before winter. Pruning such trees in winter means the flower buds will also be removed. You would not want that. In this case, waiting until your trees have finished flowering will be a better option. Late spring flowering trees can be pruned in the winter since you will no risk removing their flower buds.
Reasons why you may want to prune your trees in spring or summer
Although winter is a great time to prune your trees, there are reasons why you might want to prune your trees in warmer weather. Below is a list of some of the reasons you may opt to prune your trees during spring and summer.
- When you see damaged or diseased branches on your tree during spring or summer, you can not wait for winter to remove them. Dead and damaged branches should be removed as early as possible, no matter what time of the year.
- On some trees, telling whether a branch is dead or dormant is not easy. In this case, all you need to do is wait till spring or summer strikes.
- If your tree grows too large, getting in the way of other structures or even other trees, you will need to prune it regardless of what time of the year it is.
- When your tree has fully leafed out, you might want to consider pruning it to enhance its overall look.
- You might want to prune your trees to improve your view.
- If you want to remove overhanging branches or make room for something else, you may want to prune your trees.
The benefits of winter tree pruning include:
- It prevents the spread of diseases
- Less damage happens on your trees as compared to when pruning is done during spring or summer
- Fruit trees become more fruitful
- It improves trees recovery
- Makes it easy to evaluate tree structure
- It enhances the beauty of your trees.
Now that you’ve discovered more benefits of pruning tree in winter, you won’t stress yourself trying to figure out the best time to prune. You can do both yourself and your trees justice by pruning them in this season. The benefits that winter pruning offers are super amazing. Try trimming and pruning your trees to obtain healthy, safe, and beautiful trees!