Winter is a prime time for tree pruning. While our Guide to Pruning notes that there is no single answer for ‘when’ to prune, in many cases late winter is the best. That’s because many trees and shrubs are dormant at this time, and during dormancy plants ‘don’t mind’ pruning. Moreover, in many cases, late-winter pruning can stimulate spring growth. So, if you’re ready to get out there and tidy up your trees and shrubs, read on for more on winter tree pruning.
Why Prune Trees in Winter?
Pruning in late winter has many benefits because trees are dormant at this time. Dormant tree pruning is important for your trees for several reasons.
Reduce Spread of Disease
Firstly, winter pruning helps manage the spread of disease. During warmer months, diseases and fungal infections such as oak wilt are more likely to spread between trees. In contrast, fresh cuts in winter are unlikely to be visited by disease-carrying insects or breezes caring fungal spores.
Better View of Tree Structure
Secondly, dormant pruning allows you to see the shape of your tree better. Therefore, you can better choose where to cut for the shape and health of your tree. As you know from How to Prune Young Trees, pruning for health and structure are key to the longer-term success of your tree.
Less Stress on Your Tree
During the growing season, tree pruning stimulates new growth to close the wound. However, winter tree pruning doesn’t trigger new growth until spring. This ensures your tree grows to the structure of your pruning, and stimulates new growth when conditions for growing are best.
Improves Safety of Your Landscape
Finally, winter tree pruning helps improve the safety of your trees. While dead or dying trees present a winter hazard, pruning removes dead or diseased limbs. Thus, strong winds, like those Webster, NY often has in March, cause less risk of blowing debris.
When is ‘Late Winter’?
Okay, so we now know that late winter tree pruning is the way to go. However, when exactly is ‘late winter’? Well, that depends on your hardiness zone. For example, New York State includes a number of hardiness zones, from 3b in the Adirondacks to 7b in NYC. However, Webster lies in zone 6 (on the edge of 6a and 6b). So, in zone 6 March is considered late winter.
Want to know more? Then check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Map.
What to Prune in the Winter?
The question, ‘what to prune in the winter’ is a little tricky to answer. That’s because there are so many trees and shrubs that benefit from winter pruning. However, there are some rules of thumb that can help you know what to prune in your landscape. For example, dormant pruning is best for most deciduous trees and shrubs such as maples, oaks, and apples. In contrast, spring-flowering trees such as dogwood, redbud, cherry, pear, and magnolia, should be pruned after blooming.
Winter Tree Pruning in Webster NY
Thanks for reading! Do you need professional tree pruning? Looking for arborists in Webster? Let Arbor Tree Experts help. Established in Webster in 1985 we are a fully licensed and insured tree service in Webster. We offer tree removal, tree pruning as well as stump grinding. Contact us today!