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Time To Schedule Tree Pruning

By this time in December, your three-season outdoor paradise is, undoubtedly, secured for the winter. This means you’re spending most of your time indoors where it’s warm. But what about your trees? 

This is the ideal time to schedule tree care. That includes pruning, cabling & bracing and other work on the above ground portion of deciduous trees. Why now? Here’s why:

• Deciduous trees are dormant. Making pruning cuts now is far less traumatic than making the same cuts when sap is flowing and the tree is foliated. Then the leaves are actively making food through photosynthesis.

• Our arborists can see the tree’s skeletal structure. With the leaves gone, our arborists can stand back and inspect the tree’s structure and determine which branches need to be removed for health and aesthetic reasons. When in leaf, the leaves cover up problems and may present a different shape.


• Pruning cuts provide pests and pathogens with easy access to the interior of trees but many insects and disease organisms are dormant for the winter. Pruning now will give the wounds plenty of time to callous over before the insects and disease organisms become active again. 

• Frozen ground lets us better position equipment. A tree in the middle of your front or back yard may be difficult to reach with our bucket trucks. In spring, summer and fall, we’d have to physically climb such trees. In winter, though, when the ground’s frozen, we can often maneuver closer to the tree and prune it faster and safer.

• Faster, easier clean up saves money because less debris falls by the wayside as we drag it across a snow-covered lawn. (Less friction)

You may feel sorry for arborists having to work outdoors in harsh winter conditions. They dress for the weather and take extra precautions on slippery surfaces. They’re used to it and trained to avoid hazards. However, there are some days that the weather is just so bad that even we can’t work. Scheduling now better assures you of a time that’s most convenient for you, and gives both of us plenty of options should we have to postpone. 

As always, I urge you not to attempt to prune your own trees. It’s dangerous in the best weather and even worse in inclement weather. If the tree’s a flowering tree, you may unwittingly remove flower buds. Most spring flowering trees and shrubs bloom on old wood, which means this spring’s flower buds are already on the branches. To the untrained eye, they’re indistinguishable from the new leaf buds. However, our arborists are trained to identify both types of buds. 

One comment on “Time To Schedule Tree Pruning

  1. Timing for some trees can be rather precise, and some trees prefer to be engaged at other times of year. Maples and birches prefer dormant pruning, but should be done early so that they do not bleed so much when sap starts to flow again. Flowering cherries, flowering crabapples and a few other flowering trees should get pruned after bloom and after new foliage has matured a bit, even though winter is technically the best time to prune them. (Late pruning compromises bloom less than more timely pruning, but if early enough, allows for growth to develop for bloom for the next year.)

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