Benefits of pruning your trees in the winter.

January 4, 2021

Winter is often the time homeowners place landscaping maintenance on the back burner, not only due to frigid temperatures, but because most believe there’s nothing to be done for their yard during winter months. However, a beautiful landscape is something that needs investment year round! For most trees, tree trimming is actually a task that is best done during the winter months. There are a variety of reasons January and February are the perfect months to take a hard look at the trees on your property and get to pruning! 

Bare branches are easier to trim and shape

Few homeowners are eager to brave freezing temperatures and icy winds to tend to their landscaping, but winter is the optimal time for tree trimming because branches are so much more visible compared to the rest of the year. When branches are bare, it’s much easier to see a tree’s structure and shape as needed. Branches that are disease ridden, dead, or just growing out of the natural growth pattern are much easier to identify and remove. Trees that are trimmed and shaped during the winter are primed for abundant growth once spring arrives, resulting in lush, healthier trees. 

Dormant trees better withstand the stress of pruning

It’s easy to forget that trees are living things and need to be thoughtfully cared for to thrive. When trees are in a state of dormancy, they are able to handle the “cuts” of pruning with more resiliency. In spring and summer months, trees are hard at work growing; but in the winter, trees are at rest so trimming doesn’t stimulate new growth. This gives trees time to heal, ensuring pruning cuts have sealed before new buds begin to develop in the spring. 

Cold temperatures also protect trees as they heal from pruning. When temperatures are warm, pruning puts trees at risk for diseases, as bacteria and insects are permitted an easy access point at the place of the cuts. However, most microbes and pests also go dormant once freezing temperatures arrive, so they are much less likely to infect trees pruned during winter months.  

Frozen ground protects landscaping

Unless your trees are relatively small, tree trimming often involves heavy equipment that allows access to and safe removal of branches. When soil is frozen, machinery can be brought in without wrecking havoc on your lawn and landscape. 

Winter pruning prevents damage of your home and property

Damaged branches pose a significant risk to your home and property, especially once ice, heavy snow, and harsh winds arrive. Dead and decaying branches are much more likely to break and fall, damaging your home and vehicles or causing injury.  Winter pruning allows you to proactively remove branches before they pose a threat.  

Do I need to hire a professional?

Many homeowners feel comfortable removing small branches that are easily accessible from the ground with tree trimmers or pruning shears. However, as noted above, safe and effective trimming of larger trees requires heavy equipment. Especially when winter weather conditions are taken into consideration, it is not recommended for homeowners to take on any tree trimming project that requires use of a ladder. Certified arborists (professional tree trimmers) have the knowledge and training necessary to handle the needed tools and work with falling branches. Tree trimming without the proper knowledge or safety measures can easily lead to accidents and injury. 

In addition to general safety, professionals know how to shape a tree to ensure the tree’s stability stays intact in regards to overall weight distribution.  Professionals are also able to discern where cuts are needed for optimum healing and growth of the tree. It’s important to note that winter pruning is not beneficial for all tree varieties, which is another reason it’s helpful to consult an arborist for input. 

The benefits of winter tree pruning may be evident, but that doesn’t make braving the winter elements any easier.  Regardless of the season, trimming trees just isn’t convenient for the majority of homeowners. Whether your trees demand professional equipment and expertise or you’d just prefer to stay inside where it’s warm, we’re here to tackle the hard work for you. Our professionals are equipped with both the knowledge and equipment to tend to all your tree-trimming needs. Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment! 

Get your trees trimmed this season.

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