Dormant Season Pruning

“When it’s green & growing, I need to fix it. When it’s snow covered and desolate I can put it off.”

This is just one of the few misconceptions around the best time to prune your trees. You’re enjoying the benefits of your property during the spring and summer when growth is active, and more likely to notice any unsightly appearances caused by new spring growth. This often becomes a nuisance to homeowners.

Clients also assume that trimming can’t be completed during the winter due to safety concerns of snow and ice. Arborists actually have optimal access when trees are dormant. Limbs are lighter and easier to handle, and leafless tree structures are easier to see.

What are the benefits of pruning from late fall to early spring?

Trees are less susceptible to disease and insects.

Dormant Pruning Infographic

Fresh pruning cuts and bruises are less likely to attract disease-­carrying insects or spread disease, such as oak wilt and dutch elm disease. If there is diseased or damaged wood already present, it’s also more visible when trees are bare.

Winter pruning creates greater convenience for you and your property.

During winter, minimal maintenance is needed for your lawn and landscaping, so there is no intrusion on active growth as there would be during spring. Once the weather breaks, there will be no shortage of yard work on your to-do list or entertaining and fun to be had. By scheduling ahead, you eliminate some tasks when you just want to be outside enjoying your property.

Spring growth can be healthier and ready to enjoy at the start of the season.

Trees can be at their healthiest when maintained during dormant ­season before new growth begins in spring. Pruning after the onset of new growth can limit the plant’s bloom potential for the year. Dormant pruning pulls double duty by causing less stress on trees, and allowing for robust new growth in plants that bloom in the spring and summer.

Can I trim my trees at all during the spring and summer?

Pruning in spring and summer is a fine option for many trees of varying species and sizes, namely for aesthetics or safety, such as:

  • Responding to unforeseen branch or limb intrusions on your home that become visible after trees have leafed out.
  • Removing tree growth that limits the ability of other landscaping elements to flourish.
  • Addressing visible deadwood with species that are harder to identify in the dormant season (ex. honey locust).
  • Increasing air circulation for disease management and reduced fungus growth.
  • Improving growing season aesthetics when you’re spending the most time outside.

However, dormant season pruning offers different benefits as listed above.

Speak with your arborist about a customized pruning plan based on the current needs of your property. Long term, proper pruning can help promote the health of your trees.

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