Just because your Waterloo garden is dormant in the winter, doesn’t mean you should be too. There are plenty of gardening tasks to keep you busy throughout the cold months and ensure that your garden blooms beautifully in spring. Winter pruning or dormancy pruning, in Waterloo can be cold, hard work but it will pay dividends when the weather warms up again. This is the ideal time to get an arborist to tend to your trees.
Why Prune in Winter?
Good Visibility – After the leaves have fallen, the tree’s substructure and growth patterns are clearly visible and this makes it easier for an arborist to identify structural issues and make good pruning decisions. By studying the bare branches, they will be able to determine what work is needed to keep your trees safe, healthy and looking their best.
Promote Tree Health - The removal of dead, dying or diseased branches from large trees is essential to ensure the safety of your family and property. Dead and weak branches can become a serious safety issue during winter storms as they can break under the weight of snow or be blown about, causing serious harm. In winter, with no leaves to obscure their view, arborists can quickly spot and remove any dead, diseased or unhealthy branches. Removing these branches in winter will also rejuvenate weaker trees.
Encourage Blooms and Fruit - Dormancy pruning means that there is no interruption to the tree’s growth cycle and this allows trees to recover quickly, and produce abundant new growth in the spring. Unlike fall pruning (generally not a good idea), winter pruning doesn’t stimulate new growth that can be killed off by cold weather. The tree is not placed under stress and all growth is redirected to the buds on the remaining branches. Fruit trees benefit enormously from correct winter pruning as this potentially increases fruit production. But be aware that pruning removes the flower buds of early spring-blooming trees and reduces the number of flowers they will produce. If you want your spring blooming trees to put on a good show, you should delay pruning until after they have finished flowering. Contact your local Waterloo arborist to find out when your trees bloom.
Tree Training and Shaping – Young trees need to be trained into a desirable and stable shape. Most structural defects in mature trees can be prevented by correct pruning when the tree is still young. An arborist will prune your young tree in winter to encourage the establishment of a strong, central stem and maintain correct branch distribution. Trees that serve a specific landscaping purpose, like hedges for privacy or shade, also need careful winter pruning to preserve their function and control their size and proportions.
Manage Insects and Diseases – Fresh pruning wounds on a tree are like open wounds on your body. They are a potential site of infection and disease. Winter pruning helps control the spread of serious disease like Dutch elm disease, oak wilt, cedar hawthorn rust and fire blight by minimizing the exposure time of open wounds on your trees. Pruning in winter, when many of the bacteria, fungi, parasites, and insects that prey on trees are dormant, means that your trees are less vulnerable to attack. Research shows that pruning before the buds break in spring leads to optimal wound closure, giving your trees time to heal before the warmer weather brings out insects, pests and diseases. Extensive knowledge of insects and diseases in the Waterloo area is essential when making winter pruning decisions and an experienced arborist will be able to make the right cuts and maintain the health of your trees.
Tree pruning is not a simple matter of cutting out a branch here or there, it is a specialized task that requires experience and patience. To ensure that the job is done properly and safely, it is best to hire a qualified arborist. Call Martin’s Tree Services for all your Waterloo winter pruning needs.