Winter Tree Pruning

Winter Tree Pruning

Winter is actually an excellent time to prune trees. Why? It’s easier to spot potential hazards such as cracks, defects and deadwood in leafless trees, and apply corrective pruning when necessary. Pruning during dormancy also results in a vigorous burst of new growth in the spring.

“This is the best time for an arborist to locate deadwood by looking for changes in branch color, fungus growth, cracks, and other symptoms that can help them make this determination,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP and staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association. “Since the leaves are off, the view of the entire tree’s architecture is clear and a thorough check can be performed.”

A Right Way to Prune

Pruning is much more than the simple act of sawing off limbs. At its most basic level, pruning trees involves removing damaged, dead or structurally weak limbs, which will improve a tree’s health and reduce the chances of personal or property damage caused by falling limbs. More advanced pruning methods aid in improving the tree’s structure and long-term health.

Proper pruning encourages growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health and removes damaged limbs, all which give aesthetic appeal to a tree. Pruning at the right time and in the right way is critical, since it is possible to kill a tree by neglect or over-pruning.

Pruning Standards

Ask the tree care company or arborist if they prune according to ANSI A300, or the American National Standards Institute standard for tree pruning. This standard recommends, and in some cases requires, that the use of certain tools, cutting techniques and pruning methods be followed, and sets the standard definitions for terms the arborist will use in your estimate. Properly written work estimates for tree pruning should be written in accordance with ANSI A300 standards.

The standards also include guidelines for basic pruning practices. So a tree care company or arborist will not:

  • leave branch stubs
  • make unnecessary heading cuts
  • cut off the branch collar (not make a flush cut)
  • top or lion’s tail trees (stripping a branch from the inside leaving foliage just at the ends)
  • remove more than 25 percent of the foliage of a single branch r
  • emove more than 25 percent of the total tree foliage in a single year
  • damage other parts of the tree during pruning
  • use wound paint
  • prune without a good reason
  • climb the tree with climbing spikes

Contact us for information about winter pruning your trees.

Sources: Arbor Day Foundation; Tree Care Industry Association