Often there is a misguided belief that tree pruning, if done in the winter, has the potential to harm trees. However, pruning in the winter certainly won’t hurt your tree. Rather, it has many benefits:
- Reduce the likelihood of disease infection by pruning while diseases are dormant at lower temperatures. Here in Wisconsin, there are certain types of trees that should only be pruned in the winter to avoid disease contraction. These include oaks (Oak Wilt), elms (Dutch Elm Disease) and fruit trees (Fire Blight).
- Certified Arborists can better evaluate structure during the dormant period when the leaves have dropped. With all branches viewable, the tree can be assessed as a whole and properly pruned\ to retain natural form.
- Machinery won’t be so hard on your lawn when the ground is frozen. Utilizing machines (such as our nifty articulating loader) helps us get a job done as efficiently and safely as possible. However, in warmer conditions it has the potential to damage the lawn (despite how careful we are). Your green grass will thank you in the Spring!
- More time to seal (heal) before Spring means less stress for your tree. Even when dormant, trees are slowly healing their wounds. When Spring comes, the tree will be able to focus more energy on healthy new growth. Time for renewal!
As always, there are exceptions to the rule! Flowering ornamentals shouldn’t be pruned in the winter if the flower buds have already set in late fall. Lilacs are a well-known example. Doing so will decrease blooms. Contact a Madison Area Certified Arborist to ensure that you are pruning your tree or shrub at an optimal time.
There are a few challenges that come along with pruning in the winter. Cleanup can be a bit challenging, especially after a big Wisconsin snow! Along with that, a dead branch may occasionally get missed.
Here at Eco Tree Company, our Certified Arborists are happy to touch up their work in the Spring if needed. We’re happy to brave the winter elements in order to keep your trees healthy and your family safe!