Even though most trees and shrubs can be pruned at any time during the year, there are several advantages to pruning in the dormant, winter season.
Branch structure is more visible. Allowing for correctly pruning to be more easily accomplished. Hanging and dead limbs that may be over looked when the tree is in full foliage will be easy to see in the bareness of winter. There is less risk of damage to grass and flower beds below and around the tree. Winter pruning shapes the tree for spring growth! Research has shown that pruning cuts made in the dormant season will close more quickly the following year. Many clients often ask how we can prune trees in the winter. They are curious has to how we know if a branch is dead or alive when it has no foliage in the winter. A certified arborist can use the tree’s bark color and bud formation (yes, the tree is already preparing for spring, even though you may not notice) to distinguish between a healthy branch and dead wood. Pruning may be needed for a variety of reasons. Such as:
- removing deadwood and broken branches
- correcting the form or shape of the tree
- removing rubbing or crossing interior branches
- reducing the density of the canopy
- removing low hanging branches
- clearing branches from structures or other trees
Although most pruning can be done in any season, I still consider winter to be the best season for pruning! There is no need to wait for your trees to leaf out, as long as your pruning is done by a skilled and educated arborist!