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The Advantages of Winter Pruning

By Advance Tree Pros

A well-maintained, structurally sound tree is a valuable asset to your landscape and will maintain and even increase property values. The majority of tree damage can be prevented by proper pruning. Winter pruning is important because it is the best time to evaluate and care for the structural needs of trees. The Certified Arborists at Advance Tree Pros are trained in the scientific forms of pruning and are experts at determining the pruning needs of trees.

Limbs that are damaged and need to be removed can be easily identified:

Each tree species has a unique form and structure that needs to be maintained. If damaged or dead limbs need to be removed, the overall structure of the tree must not be changed; doing so can weaken the physical strength of the tree. Without leaves on a tree, the structure can be assessed easily and corrected where necessary.

Other structural problems will be obvious:

Winter Pruning, Ripped branches, crossing branches, and limbs that are stacked on top of each other are all structural and health issues within a tree’s canopy. Without the foliage, these problems are much easier to identify by arborists when they are in the tree. By pruning in the dormant season, a more complete health assessment of the structure can be performed.

Another common problem with maples, lindens, and hackberries is the development of “co-dominant branches”. These trees are genetically inclined to create branches that are poorly attached to the tree. These issues can easily be identified and corrected when the trees are young. If the co-dominant branches are not corrected early in the tree’s life, they can cause problems for the tree later on. Because these branches are more prone to breakage, they can become a hazardous situation for the tree owner. It may be difficult to see this structural disorder in full foliage but is very obvious for the trained arborist in the dormant season.

The weight of the foliage is not on the limbs:

When we prune during the growing season, new leaf tissue and bark tissue are continually added to the branches. A limb may weigh 5 times more in the summer months than during the dormant season. This extra weight is not present in the winter, lessening the potential of pruning cuts to rip or tear, and minimizing damage.

Tree energy acquisition is not disrupted:

During the summer leaves are creating the food for the trees. When we prune limbs at that time, we are reducing the tree’s ability to generate energy and resources to survive. In the winter the energy impact on the tree is significantly reduced.

Insects and diseases are not active:

Most insects that live in trees, attack trees, and/or transmit diseases are dormant during this time of year. Therefore, we can prune trees like elms and oaks without having to worry about making them targets for these pests. In addition, tree wounds have a better chance of sealing in early spring before the majority of pests and diseases become active.