A lot of people don’t know this but winter is the perfect time to prune things like your trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses. There is a science and an art to pruning due to how it can improve the overall health of your plants and also make them look more aesthetically appealing at the same time. But do you know what pruning during the winter can do? Our experts here at Five Star Tree Services are here to inform you that not only does it cut down on branches and make trees smaller, it also helps to preserve, strengthen, and make them more appealing. Winter pruning is more convenient, as well as beneficial for your trees. We have made a guide to help you prune your plants the right way in order to help them stay healthy.
Benefits of Pruning
Encourages New Growth
You never want to prune a tree when it is actively growing because it will stress out the tree. Active growth happens during the spring and summer months. The best time to prune without hurting your tree is during the winter when it is dormant. By the time spring comes around, this will promote new and healthy growth. You will immediately be able to see an abundance of flowers in the spring after pruning. While pruning, this is a great time to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Leaving these in place is unhealthy for the tree and a potential safety hazard if you leave them to fall on their own. Winter pruning is also a great way to maximize fruit production. While the leaves are off the trees during winter, this gives you a better view and see the structure of the tree clearly.
Helps Against Pests and Diseases
Pruning during a tree’s growing season exposes them to different pests and diseases. This can include things like oak wilt, fungal disease, and cedar rust. This is another reason that winter pruning is advisable, these pests and diseases are not transmittable during the winter due to them being dormant as well.
Appropriate Trimming Times
The timing of your pruning is important. Even though you want to wait until winter has arrived, you need to wait until it has fully set in. Trimming your trees too early into the winter season can harm them if they are not fully dormant yet. So, now you might be asking “When is the best time to prune in the winter?”. Late winter or early spring is the most optimal time to prune. The only exception to this is for early blooming spring plants.
Another crucial thing to know about is knowing exactly what plants you can prune during the winter. As you might know, different plants require different care. Knowing about each specific care instruction will help you know what plants to prune to help them thrive.
Proper Equipment and Tools
It is very important that you use the right tools and equipment when pruning trees or for just general care. Things like plastic tree trunk guards are a great thing to use during the winter. Most plants can be harmed by snow and ice, which can make winter trimming even more important. Here are some tools you should be using:
Gloves- make sure to get the correct size for your hands. A perfectly fitting glove is the best glove.
Ladder- never use any ladder that is damaged or crooked. When climbing, always use the 3 point of contact method, which means two hands and one foot are always on the ladder.
Goggles- you need to protect your eyes from any debris or plant sap getting in them.
Chainsaw- if you don’t know how to use one, consult the manual and read it thoroughly. An alternative option is to hire a professional arborist to teach you the proper usage of a chainsaw.
Facemask- this one is a little more optional as it is personal preference or if you have allergies to sawdust. But in order to avoid inhaling debris and sawdust, whether you’re allergic or not, it is advisable to wear a mask.
It’s also important to not over prune your trees. If you consistently over prune this will kill them over time.
Picking The Best Limbs to Prune
Sometimes, when pruning, it is not blatantly obvious what the best branches to prune are. Picking the appropriate branches can be important for aesthetic reasons. Some trees and shrubs grow quickly, which requires routine trimming to maintain their neat and tidy appearance. The following is some suggestions on how to pick the best branches to prune if you are looking for a healthy and lofty appearance:
Crossed limbs- any branches that are crossed or rubbing together need to be trimmed. This ensures that the canopy is better protected.
Dying limbs- these need to be removed to ensure they don’t cause the whole tree to die. It is also a safety hazard to leave dead branches to fall off on their own, especially if anyone ever goes under the tree at any time. Dead branches also allow pests and diseases to enter the tree.
Multiple stems- there needs to be only one central leader. When pruning, leave the stem that is the straightest, strongest, and is growing in a vertical direction.
Stem development and growth height- in order to be properly structured, most hardwood trees need to have their lower branches removed. The age of your tree is critical for stem growth and development, ask advice from a professional before chopping anything off your tree.
How Five Star Tree Services Can Help
If you require Richmond Hill Tree Pruning, our trained experts here at Five Star Tree Services would love to help you! Between now and early spring is the most beneficial time to prune your shrubs and trees. Give us a call today at (416) 990-3355!