Many homeowners are surprised to hear that winter is one of the best times to trim your trees. But it’s true, winter pruning brings a lot of benefits to you and your trees including disease and insect prevention, faster healing times, better spring flower production, and the ability to perform a better safety evaluation. Read on to learn exactly why our arborists recommend homeowners, who are due for a tree trimming, schedule their pruning before warmer spring weather comes along.
Benefits of Winter Tree Trimming:
1. Improved Spring Aesthetics
Trimming your tree during the winter also leads to better spring aesthetics and growth. Getting rid of dead, dying, and diseased branches ensures that energy will not be wasted on these branches but instead used to promote growth on healthy branches. By pruning in winter you are essentially invigorating your tree and promoting robust new growth.
Although the new growth and improved aesthetics can be seen on most trees pruned in winter you can especially see the effects on late spring/summer flowering trees. If you have trees that bloom in the spring/summer such as Rose of Sharon, Smoketree, and Chaste Tree, pruning them in the winter will cause an increase in the amount of blooms and their size.
Bonus Tip: Late winter/early spring, right after the last frost, is the best time to prune Crape Myrtles in order to stimulate blooms. Book your Crape Myrtle pruning with RTEC and we will watch the weather and schedule your pruning at just the right time. Learn more about Crape Myrtle Pruning.
2. Faster Recovery
Trees heal and recover faster from tree trimming when it’s performed in the winter. During the spring, summer, and fall the tree is busy using all its energy for other tasks like pushing out new growth, converting sunlight into energy, or getting ready for winter. When you trim your trees in winter there are no leaves or other tasks to use up energy, this allows your tree to put all of its energy directly into healing its bark.
3. Less Risk of Insect & Disease Complications
All tree trimming causes open wounds that need to heal and are at risk of becoming infected. Proper tree trimming techniques reduce the risk of infection and promote rapid healing by making sure the pruning cuts are clean and in the correct location. However, during the spring, summer, and fall, fresh pruning cuts are at a higher risk of becoming infected from disease or infested with insects. By pruning in the winter you get the added benefit of disease and insect prevention. Like trees, insects and diseases are dormant in the winter essentially lowering the risk of infection/infestation to zero.
4. Better Evaluation of Structural Risks
In the winter there are no leaves on the tree to obstruct visual inspections. This means branch defects and structural issues that may have been missed in spring or summer are plainly visible in winter with the absence of leaves. In the cold months, dead branches and structural issues in large shade trees can be easily identified and properly pruned.
Exceptions: Are There Any Species That Shouldn’t Be Pruned In Winter?
For flowering trees/shurbs that have early spring blooms that are on last year’s growth, like Magnolias, Cherries, Azaleas,Flowering Dogwoods, and Eastern Redbuds, pruning in the winter will remove their buds and cause a lack luster spring bloom. If you’re looking to boost flower production and the tree’s aethetics, it’s best to wait until their flowers fade in late spring to prune these types of trees.
Now that you know the benefits of trimming trees in winter, schedule an appointment to get your trees trimmed before the warmer spring weather comes along.