It may be cold outside, but that doesn't mean that you can't trim your trees. Winter is a great time to prune your trees and give them some attention if you know what you are doing.
1. Winter Pruning is Good for Some Trees
Winter pruning is good for some trees but not all. It is a good time to prune most types of deciduous trees. Many trees, such as oak trees, crabapples, mountain ash, and apple trees, are less likely to contract diseases when they have been pruned during the winter months.
During the winter, the trees are dormant. That means that they will not release sap from the fresh cuts in the same way as they do when they are actively growing. Winter pruning can help to promote new growth in the spring. It can also be easier to see what to prune in the winter when the trees don't have any foliage. The structure is much more visible, which allows for clean and precise cuts.
2. Make a Clean Cut
With winter pruning, you are going to want to ensure that you make a good cut. When cutting off a branch, you want to ensure that the cut mirrors the tree's collar, where the trunk and the branch meet. This allows the tree to seal up the cut and create a callus over it. This is an essential process to ensure that the cut heals properly, protecting the tree from diseases.
3. Be Careful with Large Branches
You don't want to cut large branches off from the trunk. First, you will want to cut off about a third of the branch from the furthest end from the tree. This will help to reduce the weight of the branch. Then, you will want to cut the other outer third, further reducing the weight. This will ensure when you make the closest cut, the branch just falls and doesn't pull the bark down, damaging the tree. Finally, you will cut the last third, right next to where the branch and trunk meet, creating a clean cut.
4. Use the Right Tools
Not all branches need the same tools. With small branches, you can use a hand pruner. With branches that are at least two to three inches thick, you can use a looper. For anything larger than that, you will want to use a pruning saw.
Winter is a great time to prune the deciduous trees in your yard. You can protect your trees from disease by pruning in the winter. Winter tree pruning also helps promote healthy growth in the spring. Just make sure you are using the right tool for the size of the branch and making clean cuts.