Gardens require year-round maintenance to keep them looking their best. But of all the seasons, winter is probably the least demanding time for gardeners. There isn’t too much growing going on during the cold months and this lull in mowing, weeding, and raking can be a great time to catch up on much-needed tree pruning in your Waterloo garden.
Winter tree pruning might not be part of your regular garden routine, but it should be. There are a number of very good reasons to trim your trees in winter.
Thinning out excess branches and cutting back overgrown sections in winter will improve the overall health and appearance of a tree. Overgrowth also has a negative effect on the health of a tree, making it weaker and less likely to be able to fight off pests and diseases. Winter is a good time to identify and remove any diseased branches.
Spot the Dead Wood
When all the leaves have been blown away by strong autumn winds, the branches of the trees become clearly visible. Suddenly all the malformed, unbalanced and misshapen bits are right there in front of you, making tree trimming and pruning easier. You can now see the general form of the tree and quickly remove branches that are contrary to the overall growth pattern.
Removing dead or diseased wood from big trees is essential, not only for the health of the tree but also for the protection of yourself and your property. Deadwood and dying branches can be dangerous, especially if they’re close to your home. Strong winds and big storms can wreak havoc with large branches, blowing them through windows and onto roofs. The weight of heavy snow can also cause a dead or weak branch to snap and crash down into your yard. If you think that a branch poses a risk to you or your property, get a certified arborist to inspect your tree and remove it if necessary.
Winter Offers Good Protection
Cold weather offers trees natural disease protection after trimming and trees pruned in winter are less likely to become infected by bacteria, fungi, and insects. Any cut into a tree creates a wound and this wound, much like with any human wound, is susceptible to infection. After pruning it is easier for microbes, bacteria, and pests to infect a tree and cause disease. Fortunately, most pests don’t like the cold and are dormant in the winter.
Spring is Just Around the Corner
One of the main reasons for pruning trees is to stimulate growth. Removing the deadwood and unnecessary branches in winter will ensure that the tree uses its energy efficiently in spring. A tree that is properly trimmed in winter can effectively channel its energy stores to produce an abundant display of new growth in the spring. This is especially noticeable with summer-flowering trees. If you can’t remember when your tree flowers, ask your local arborist.
Not All Trees Benefit from Winter Trimming
Remember to be aware that winter trimming is not ideal for all trees. Trees that flower in spring should not be pruned in winter. Pruning a spring-flowering tree in winter, when the bloom buds are already set, will reduce the number of flowers it produces. It is better to trim these trees immediately after the blooms have faded.
Light pruning of smaller trees and shrubs can be done year round, especially if you want to keep them neatly shaped and contained. If you are pruning smaller trees in winter, avoid cutting any branches that are more than one-quarter-inch thick, until the worst of the cold weather has passed.
Trimming your tree correctly is like giving it a good haircut, it enhances the tree’s natural shape and appearance. But doing a bad job is like giving it a bad haircut, a disaster. If you want the job done properly it is best to hire a professional arborist, like Martin’s Tree Service in Waterloo, to trim your trees.