Although Florida has a fairly mild winter season, it is still one of the best times to prune trees. Most people stop thinking about tree care during this season, but winter and early spring are an excellent time for tree work. As the temperatures drop, so do most of the leaves, giving better visibility to the tree’s structure. Being able to see a tree’s interior growth structure makes it easier for tree specialists to identify any structural issues or hazards and make the best pruning decisions.
Removal of dead, dying or diseased branches helps promote healthy growth while improving safety around the tree. Limbs that overhang buildings, parking areas or walkways should be given particular attention. All urban trees benefit from a periodic inspection and cleaning.
Trees and shrubs often serve a specific purpose in the landscape and pruning helps preserve that function. Hedges may be used as a border or barrier to hide or protect areas of a residential or commercial property. Trees and shrubs are crucial to the appearance in most landscapes, especially on commercial properties and HOAs.
For younger trees, pruning aids in the development of a desirable and stable form. Most structural defects in older trees could have been prevented by pruning when the tree was young. Proper care can establish a strong, healthy, well-proportioned tree – enhancing the overall appearance of the property.
BENEFITS OF PRUNING IN THE WINTER
Structure is more visible
Proper pruning means making the right cut in the right place to improve the health of your trees while also improving their shape and the safety around them. With less leaves, it is easier to the see the internal structure of the tree. We can quickly identify dead or dangerous branches that should be removed.
Minimized Stress for Trees
Pruning a tree while it is dormant results in a vigorous burst of spring growth. Pruning wounds are only exposed for a short time before new spring growth begins. Also, since there are less leaves to manufacture sugar during the colder months, there is no interruption to the tree’s growth cycle. It is less stressful for the tree and allows all growth efforts to be re-directed to new buds as spring begins.
Minimized Spreading of Tree Diseases
Tree diseases are typically caused by the spread of bacteria, fungi, parasites and insects. Disease agents usually die down or become dormant as the temperatures cool, making them less likely to be spread through tree work done in the winter months. Insects that carry disease spores (such as oak wilt and Dutch elm disease) are often attracted by fresh tree cuts, so it is beneficial to prune while the diseases and insects are both inactive.
Improved Tree Safety
Dormant pruning helps remove any damaged, dead or dying branches before they can compromise the safety of any people or property around them. It also helps rejuvenate and strengthen weaker trees by removing dead weight or diseased wood.
WHICH TREES BENEFIT MOST FROM WINTER PRUNING?
The following types of trees should be pruned in winter to early spring when they are still dormant and before new growth begins.
– Evergreen trees (spruce, fir) and shrubs (yew, holly, and boxwoods).
– Shade trees such as oak, sweetgum, maple, katsura and hornbeam.
SHOULD YOU STILL PRUNE TREES IN SPRING & SUMMER?
Of course! Until trees have fully leafed-out, some issues may not be obvious. And other problems can occur as a tree continues to grow. Dead, damaged or diseased branches and trees should always be removed when you first notice them, regardless of the time of year.
Here are some other reasons to prune during the warmer months:
- Taking out damaged or diseased branches
- Remove unforeseen branch or limb intrusions to your home
- Remove tree growth that inhibits the flourishing of other landscape elements
- Improving the overall look of the tree once it’s leafed out
- Opening up the tree to increase air circulation and sunlight to the interior (reduces fungus growth and helps manage disease)
- Raising the tree canopy to improve your view
- Reducing the size of trees that have grown too large
Over the long term, proper tree trimming and pruning can help promote the health, safety and beauty of your trees.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your trees.