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Tips on Your Pruning Trees in Winter

It may seem that trees can be forgotten during the colder months, especially when they require less water and get ample rain. Still, tree pruning in winter, while the trees are dormant, can be a very important tree care practice, depending on your objectives.

In our detailed article below, we discuss our tips for pruning your trees during the cold winter months, including information on how to prune, when the best time to prune is, and why pruning is important to the health of your trees.

The Difference Between Trimming and Pruning Your Trees

Tree trimming and tree pruning both involve removing some growth from a living tree, but they each serve a different purpose. 

Tree Trimming: Trimming a tree is the art of removing healthy growth to achieve a particular shape and aesthetic. Trimming can also help thin out the interior to allow more light in. 

Tree Pruning: Pruning a tree means cutting back or removing damaged, diseased, or dead limbs in order to preserve the overall health of your tree. Generally, pruning involves a selective process of removing or reducing branches in order to achieve a desired goal.

Why Pruning Your Tree Is Important

Pruning your tree is important. Regular and correct pruning is an important part of tree care. With this one act, you can help the tree, beautify your property, minimize fire danger, infestation, and illness, and minimize the chances of failure.

By pruning the tree’s shape and structure, you can improve its appearance and ensure balance to prevent breakage, especially in a fruit tree. Thinning out the branches in the tree’s canopy can fix constricting, overlapping branches, as well.

3 Tips on How to Prune In Winter

Proper winter tree pruning supports the health of a tree, but improper or over-pruning can cause damage. Here are three tips for successful pruning:

1. When to Prune Your Trees: Pruning trees while they are dormant is much less stressful if you want to prune them, and for deciduous trees, it is much easier to see and access the limbs without the leaves in your way.

Pruning almost all trees at any time is possible, but the timing of care might be a factor in certain circumstances. Your arborist can advise you on when to prune each variety of tree on your property.

2. How Often Should You Prune: Maintaining the health and structure of most trees is best achieved by pruning them every three to five years. If you have questions about pruning your trees, contact a certified arborist. How often you prune them depends on the type and age of the tree.

3. How to Prune: When you begin forming a tree by removing dead branches and shaping it, it is easy to get carried away. However, a longer view is better, removing the smallest amount possible to achieve the desired effect. If your new property has trees that have not been properly pruned in decades, addressing all of the damage at one time could put the tree at risk.

Being cautious about the quantity of pruning in the crown of a tree is vital since this is where the bulk of its leaves are located, which it uses for photosynthesis. You can help restore its shape and condition by bringing it closer to its proper form and condition over several pruning cycles.

Here are the basic reasons for pruning and a how-to guide to help you get the job done.

Removing Branches 

If you want to remove an entire limb, you should cut it several inches away from the trunk. If the tree is large, however, you may have to remove it in stages to avoid introducing excessive stress, which can ultimately cause further damage or disease. 

You must make three cuts for each limb you remove, as follows: You must make one cut for each third of a limb you remove, starting from the branch collar. You must position your saw on the branch an inch above the branch and then cut downward until the branch falls. Now that you no longer have the weight of the limb torquing on it, you can make a clean downward cut between the sawed end and the branch collar. This ensures that the cut is as clean as possible, leaving the surrounding bark and branch collar intact.

Shaping and Thinning

You will need loppers or pruning shears when pruning smaller branches to encourage new growth and shape the tree. Make a cut at a 45-degree angle just past a healthy growth bud or the junction where the branch meets a larger one. Leave a terminus tip about 1/4 inch above the bud and make the bottom of the cut nearly even with the bud.

Trust Your Trees to Earthworks Tree Services For Pruning Your Trees And More

Pruning a tree for the first time can be daunting, especially since over-pruning or improper pruning can harm the tree. If you prefer to entrust this crucial task to an expert, the certified arborists at Earthworks Tree Services have over 20 years of experience providing top-notch tree pruning services to homeowners and businesses in Western North Carolina. Our main goal is to care for trees, as well as administer techniques to preserve them. Our goal is to always recommend what is best for the safety of you and your loved ones.  

We are expert arborists whose passion is to care for you and your trees. Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

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