Winter is a slowdown time consisting of sitting inside, unwinding, and preparing your body for the upcoming Spring and Summer. The dormant season for trees is a similar process. During the dormant season, tree growth slows down providing a grace period for pruning to promote current tree health and future growth.
The assumption that pruning cannot be completed during Winter months is a misconception. During these months, pruning is optimal due to easier access, lighter limbs, leafless tree structures, and it helps prevent the spread of disease.
The Reasons for Dormant Pruning
Supports Disease Management
Tree diseases are more prone to spread during the Spring and Summer temperatures, while the dormant season combats against disease-carrying insects. Spring and Summer are known for new growth and for LOTS of insects. Tree diseases, such as the oak wilt, can spread after a pruning due to the open wounds on the tree. These allow access to pathogens, which is why pruning should not be done during active transmission periods in the Spring and Summer.
Unlike the cuts on our skin, freshly pruned tree cuts during the dormant season are less likely to attract diseases carried by insects or spread disease throughout the tree acquired from other external factors due to dormant season not allowing for successful living conditions for insects.
Foundational Spring Growth
Future growth is always a concern when plants go dormant in the winter. Directing future growth is much easier when branches contain no leaves. Pruning after the first indication of new Spring growth can tarnish the plants bloom potential for the year. This is why we suggest the healthiest time for maintenance is while trees are dormant.
Winter is a time of limited outside maintenance, unless you live in Wisconsin. Our Winters consist of shoveling, snowplowing, and being trapped inside from snow or ice. However, this list of outside chores increases as soon as we break-out of our extended Winter. Therefore, scheduling to prune your trees in Winter will provide you with the quickest convenience, and highest results.
Saving Money and Time
The weather pre-Winter promotes a hardened ground. This hardening makes tree accessibility easier for the arborist, and their equipment, saving time and money.
A Precise Prune
With leaves falling each day, and branches become barer, it allows for more precise cutting. For us arborists, time efficiency increases in the pre-Winter season because of harder grounds and accessibility. We are most time efficient allowing us to take on those cases for people who believe they’ve missed the deadline for tree pruning.
Increases Sustainability of the Tree
Removing excessive growth rids the tree of potentially hazardous situations. Branches or limbs breaking off during winter storms can be hazardous to your home, your neighbors, and the tree’s overall health. Weak branches should be trimmed to ensure the longevity of your tree.
Spring Growth Will be Healthy
Spring is a season of awakening, rejuvenation, and new growth. Successful budding occurs when maintenance is done throughout the course of the dormant season.
Realize that this winter you will be shoveling, snowplowing, and trapped. Prioritize your trees and their well-being moving forward into the Winter months – schedule a pruning. Upon pruning your tree, it will relax, rejuvenate, and prepare for the upcoming season, much like you this dormant season.
Contact one of our certified arborists today to assist you in preparing your tree to be as healthy as possible in the Spring season by partaking in early season dormant pruning.