Winter pruning is an excellent way to maintain the health and appearance of your trees. Before you begin, ensure that it’s winter and your tree is dormant (meaning it has stopped producing new growth).
If you’re unsure if your tree is dormant, check with a professional arborist. These tips are a quick guideline for property owners; however, it’s always best to get professional help to prevent damaging trees.
Prune to Remove Dead Branches
Dead branches can be dangerous, and they can easily break off, which could injure anyone in the area. Dead branches should also be removed because they’re likely to become diseased and spread to other parts of the tree. If you prune a branch with insect eggs or larvae, you’ll have an even worse infestation!
If you don’t remove dead branches from your trees in winter, they will prevent water from reaching new growth higher up on your trees. This can lead to poor growth in those areas and problems for other plants nearby!
How to Properly Prune Trees in Winter: Avoid Major Pruning Cuts
When pruning, it’s essential to avoid significant cuts. You shouldn’t prune more than 1/3 of the tree in one season or more than 1/4 in two years. You should also avoid making cuts that remove more than a third of the branch. If you have to cut off more than half, ensure that you’re doing so for an important reason (like removing dead wood) or because it’s necessary to keep the tree healthy! An excellent tip to remember is that less is more, and you can always take more off but never put more back.
Also, steer clear of making significant cuts during the first year after planting or transplanting (and again in subsequent years). The tree will need time to adjust and establish its root system before being subjected to drastic changes in shape. If a significant pruning cut is necessary, try doing it in late winter or early spring when fewer insects might chew on your freshly exposed branches.
Avoid Fruit-Bearing Trees
Fruit-bearing trees should be pruned during the dormant season. Fruit-bearing trees are generally much more susceptible to disease and pests, which can cause damage to your tree’s health. If you have fruit-bearing trees that need trimming, wait until after winter has passed so that you do not risk spreading diseases from one tree to another.
When pruning a fruit-bearing tree in winter, remember that you may be removing some limbs with small amounts of fruit. If possible, avoid pruning these branches because they could increase productivity if left alone. However, if those branches have died or are diseased or damaged beyond repair and pose a threat to your tree’s health by holding onto significant amounts of leaves or debris through cold weather (which could cause rotting), it is best not to leave them on your plant at all costs!
Remove the Right Limbs
Look for limbs that have grown beyond their usefulness or have succumbed to the disease. Also, remove any low-hanging stems that could cause injury if they snap or become an issue during winter. You should also trim these same branches if they’re too high—this can prevent them from breaking off on their own during a storm.
Finally, ensure your trees aren’t too close to the house or other structures so as not to damage them during storms or when you trim your tree later in the year!
Properly Pruned Trees are Essential for Safety and Aesthetics
Pruning can make your tree easier to maintain when you do it right. By cutting off diseased and broken branches, you’re ensuring that the remaining ones are healthy enough to support themselves and prevent future damage or injury.
At SB Tree Service, we care about the health of your trees as much as you do. Our ISA-certified arborist is here to help you throughout the year and knows how to properly prune trees in winter. Contact us today to learn more about our pruning services.