C's Tree Service - Serving New Orleans and Nearby Areas

Benefits of Tree Pruning in Winter

Benefits of Tree Pruning in Winter Is there a best time for tree pruning? In terms of tree health, there is a definite answer.
Tree Pruning

Is there a best time for tree pruning? In terms of tree health, there is a definite answer. While many only think about their trees and maintaining them in the growing season, the safest time to do so is actually in Winter. There are a few simple, biological factors that contribute to this. Firstly, while trees are dormant, they have greater energy reserves to put towards sealing off pruning cuts (technically speaking, no matter how careful one is while pruning a tree, the cut itself is an injury and the tree needs to devote energy to seal the wound). This is especially true when making larger cuts or removing primary structural (scaffold) limbs. Secondly, in Winter the majority of tree related pests (beetles and other boring insects) are themselves dormant. The same is also true, to an extent and depending on location and environmental conditions, for fungus and mold that may also infect fresh pruning injuries. In areas where Oak Wilt is prevalent, there are often strict municipal regulations of when to prune oak trees, and in the instance of Oak Wilt it is generally recommended to apply a pruning sealant to cover the wound (although for the most part the science indicates that pruning sealant / wound dressing actually inhibits the tree’s natural process of recovering from injury). Thankfully we do not need to worry about Oak Wilt in the New Orleans area (yet, and hopefully never). In the case of evergreen tree species, they do not truly go dormant but their metabolic functions do indeed slow down in the Winter, and it is still best to do any significant pruning at this time if possible. Thirdly, pruning in Winter, as opposed to doing so in the growing season, sets the tree up to have a more desirable shape / aesthetic for the year. When pruning during the growing season, trees will typically put out a lot of new sprout growth to compensate for the shock of losing foliage. This results in your trees looking great after pruning (depending of course on your tree care provider), but shortly there after new sprouts come in leaving the tree looking, in my opinion, somewhat unsightly or unnatural. While on this topic, it is often said that a good arborist will generally prune a tree in such a way that it doesn’t even look like it was pruned, preserving the natural shape of the tree as best as possible, and not removing so much foliage that the tree looks drastically different (though this doesn’t necessarily apply to hedges and topiary). In a future blog post I will review some basic recommendations and approaches to pruning, with a focus on improper pruning practices to avoid. In conclusion, I encourage you to consider Winter for any significant pruning work to preserve and enhance the health and aesthetic of your landscape.

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Dr Shigo

Thank you Dr Shigo! It would seem fitting to start our blog with an introduction to Dr Alex Shigo, considered to be the father of arboriculture.

Read More