If you’re a keen gardener, then you’ll be excited that the Winter season is fast approaching. Winter is the best time to prune deciduous trees (trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, such as in Autumn) for many reasons. If you’re new to Winter pruning, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
Why Should Trees and Shrubs be Pruned?
Pruning trees and shrubs rejuvenates and promotes new growth therefore improving the overall health of the tree. This can be achieved by removing all dead and diseased branches, thinning the canopy, removing any branches crossing or rubbing on each other and providing a weight reduction on necessary branches. For trees specifically, pruning lets more light into the yard which also benefits the lawn and smaller plants.
1. To improve the health of the tree
When branches die it’s usually due to disease, pest damage, a lack of light, or root structure damage. If a tree is suffering from malnutrition or disease, it’s advised to prune the tree back to a healthy state and let it re-grow from there.
2. For safety reasons
To ensure the upmost safety, it is best to remove all major deadwood, diseased branches and/or providing a weight reduction where necessary. Weight Reduction Pruning: a preventative measure that reduces the risk of limb failures by way of end weight reduction, particularly on lateral limbs.
3. To thin out the tree’s canopy
Thinning out a tree’s canopy allows more light in, which benefits smaller trees and plants below. Thinning also increases air circulation through the canopy and reduces wind resistance or ‘sail weight’. This increases the trees ability to handle strong winds. Thinning must be done selectively to maintain the tree’s structural integrity and should only be conducted by a minimum AQF Level 3 Arborist.
4. To improve aesthetics
Shaping a tree with pruning trains it’s future growth and improves the overall appearance.
Why Prune in Winter?
Winter is the ideal season to prune, as most of the foliage is gone which allows you to see what you’re doing more clearly. More importantly, as plant sap is not as active during Winter pruning cuts are less likely to ‘bleed’, which causes less of a shock to the tree or shrub than it would being chopped when the sap is in full flow. Cut branches will callous naturally, which is best before growth begins again in spring. If it’s not done correctly those wounds can be an entry point for disease or insects. Pruning in the Winter promotes fast regrowth in the spring.
What is Best Practice for Winter Pruning?
There are right and wrong ways to prune, so knowledge and care will ensure you get the best out of your trees and shrubs. Bad pruning can result in poor branch recovery, die-back and a decline in the overall health of the trees.
- Choose a mild, dry day to prune.
- Firstly, prune dead, damaged or diseased branches.
- Secondly, remove or cut back any branches that are overgrown, cross or chafe other branches.
- Your goal is to maintain or develop the structure of the tree or shrub and increase the amount of light and air at the centre.
- It’s essential to make the cut in the right place on the branch. Cut branches at the collar, the point at which one branch attaches to another.
Can I Prune Trees Myself?
Pruning trees can be dangerous and should only be carried out by trained and qualified climbing arborists with an AQF Level 3 qualification.
TreeLink can ensure pruning is carried out the correct way so that trees are kept in optimum health. Not only do our staff have the knowledge and skill, but they also have the right equipment.
An onsite inspection from one of our qualified arborists will identify what work is needed to restore the tree to prime structural condition and health. Our quote includes clearly marked photographs detailing exactly what we’re pruning.