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5 Reasons Why Trees Need Pruning in The Winter

Andrew Ogden

Here in Delaware, most of us are well aware of the hazards of big trees during stormy winter weather. Heavy snow, heavy wind, and heavy tree limbs are a recipe for property damage, injury, and worse. One question people have is, “Can you prune trees in winter?” The answer is “Yes.” Pruning trees in winter saves them from losing sap and it prevents insects and other tree parasites from taking advantage of the wound. This means trimming trees in winter is not only okay, but it’s a good idea. It helps prevent the tree from falling prey to infection and parasitic attack, and that means the limbs will be less likely to become rotten or otherwise weakened and therefore dangerous in wintertime.

We want to answer some frequently asked questions about winter tree care, but first, we will lay out the complete case for winter tree pruning.


5 Reasons Why Trees Need Pruning in The Winter


If you have some expertise in plant and tree biology, you might be able to get away with pruning trees when it suits you best. But for most of us, pruning trees in winter is a good way to avoid a lot of problems and inconvenience. Here are five reasons why winter pruning is a good idea.

1. Visibility

The first reason winter is tree pruning season is that the foliage won’t be in your way. You’ll be able to clearly see the structure of the tree to best choose where to prune, spot deadwood and rotten or diseased spots more clearly. Winter pruning on large trees especially is much easier, making it much more likely that you’ll do a good job. Remember that pruning large trees can be dangerous. So being able to tie off limbs securely, climbing unimpeded, and having max visibility are all important.

 2. Uninterrupted Growth Cycles

Trees that go dormant during the winter time do almost all of their growing and healing during the warmer months. By pruning in the winter, you avoid disrupting this important period in the life cycle of the tree. It means your trees will be free to grow, and will not have to divert resources to closing wounds.

3. Disease Reduction

The winter months here in Delaware can be bitter cold. Sure, it means higher heating costs for you, but it also means few to no bugs, mold, fungus, and bacteria. It’s the perfect time to prune a large tree since their predators and parasites will not be able to take advantage of the wounds.

4. Reduced Sensitive-Landscape Impact

Your trees are not the only things that come to life in the spring and summer. Dropping an oak limb that weighs half a ton on a dormant lawn or flower bed is not as much of a problem as it would be in the summer. By doing your pruning in the winter, you are less likely to disrupt the blossoming and growth cycles of other plants in your yard.

 5. Convenience

Finally, it’s just easier. The warmer months are good times to do most of the year’s yard work. By pruning your trees in the winter, you can spread out the work a bit, rather than doing everything in one season. Most importantly, it will give you more time in the summer to enjoy the sunshine! Of course, another good way to free yourself up to enjoy the summer months is to call in First Class Lawn Care for the big jobs.

Winter Tree Pruning Frequently Asked Questions

Our team of yard and arboreal care professionals here at First Class Lawn Care knows their stuff. We get a lot of questions on the regular about tree care, and on this subject, we wanted to be sure to give you the most accurate answers possible. So we consulted the folks behind Farmer’s Almanac, to answer the following questions.

 Q - What time of year do you trim trees?

You can trim trees any time of year. By trimming, we mean light cutting, as opposed to pruning, which means making bigger cuts into thicker limbs. Trimming is best done in the early springtime or late winter when it will stimulate growth for the new verdant season.

Q - Can you trim trees in the winter?

Yes. But trimming should be done sometime between the very end of winter and the start of summer. This way you will stimulate growth and help the tree stay on its optimal development cycle.

Q - What time of year to prune trees?

You should prune your large trees soon after the leaves detach, about the time when the air becomes frigid. This ensures that the tree is dormant and that parasites should be dormant as well.

Q - When should you not prune trees?

Pruning should be done when the tree goes dormant, at the start of the winter chill. Trim at the start of spring, and prune at the start of winter. Do not prune your trees during the growing season.

Q - Can a tree die from pruning?

Yes. You can over prune a tree or over-stress a tree by pruning too near to the growth season. This is largely a matter of art, and if you feel you may put your trees at risk, your best bet is to consult the professionals.

Q - What time of year should you cut back trees?

Again, trimming of branches can be done almost any time of year, but heavy pruning should be done in the early days of the winter season.

We're just at the top of the winter season. So if you have any major pruning that needs to be done before the heavy wind and snow sets in, now is the time.

Get in touch with the tree and yard care experts here at First Class lawn Care in Wilmington Delaware for all your tree care and landscaping needs.

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