It is important to keep your trees healthy, and pruning them is one simple way of doing this. Trees can be pruned at any time of year, including winter; this type of tree trimming is called “Dormant Pruning”. However, it is best to consult an expert to ensure the proper timing based on the species of tree and type of pruning needed.

Dormant Pruning is the the act of performing routine maintenance pruning on trees or shrubs during a period when they are not actively growing (such as winter). There are many benefits to pruning during these periods, including:

  • Remove damaged, diseased, dying and broken limbs
  • Elevate low hanging branches, and reshape overgrown trees so that they may flourish in the spring
  • Improved health of suffering trees or shrubs
  • Create space between your home or structures and the trees or shrubs surrounding your property

It is important to be sure that your trees and shrubs can withstand winter pruning to ensure that sidewalks, driveways and streets remain clear of any branches or clippings that could be of concern or a potential danger.

A few bonuses to dormant pruning:

  • Able to rejuvenate the long-term health of your trees
  • Gives your property a clean, fresh and manicured look at a time when landscaping can look plain or dull
  • Dormant pruning is generally more intrusive; using larger cuts to create more vigorous growth in the spring, which can yield healthier trees
  • Easier to tell if a tree is dead or dormant as you can check the stems; healthy stems are firm and green on the inside, dead stems are brittle and crack easily or are often mushy

By pruning during the dormant season you are actually helping to promote the health of your plants, when done correctly and at the right time. A brief period of winter hardiness is often caused by dormant pruning, however, if below freezing temperatures are forecasted you should halt all pruning about a week in advance when possible.

Other benefits of winter pruning include:

  • Less stress on your trees: When trees are actively growing during other seasons, pruning can be extremely stressful. Pruning stimulates additional growth and makes it difficult for trees to harden before the temperatures drop in winter. Winter is the perfect opportunity to prune them, because they go dormant and prepare their soft tissues for freezing temperatures, dry weather, and water/nutrient shortage – trees stop growing during dormancy to preserve energy. There is also less stress on your trees during the winter, because there is minimal sap loss when pruning.
  • Better Shaping Results: You are able to see your tree clearly without the foliage, so you are able to better maintain the structural integrity. You can see the best areas for pruning, as well as the areas that need some additional attention. Your pruning will be more effective, and thus your tree will be healthier.
  • Limited Pests & Diseases: Diseased wood is easier to detect without all of the leaves. There are also trees, such as oaks, that should only be pruned during colder months to shield them from pests like beetles or possible oak wilt. Open pruning wounds can also leave your trees vulnerable to pests and disease in the spring and summer months.
  • Better Spring Growth: When you take care of your trees during the winter they will be ready when spring finally arrives. If you prune after the spring thaw, you could inhibit your plant’s bloom potential for the year. By pruning during the winter, you are likely to see new, lush growth throughout the spring and summer.

It is important to perform regular maintenance on your trees, shrubs and landscaping all year long. Contact our team at Dan’s Tree Service and let us take some of your stress away.