Winter pruning or dormant trimming is done during the winter months while the trees and shrubs are in dormancy. Winter pruning is done for a variety of reasons. Each reason has to do with the health of the plant and aesthetics.
Winter Pruning for Plant Health
Trees and shrubs in dormancy are less susceptible to disease and bug infestation than in other times of year. The wounds are exposed for a limited amount of time before the growing cycle begins. For most kinds of trees, it is best to prune in winter. And for some varieties, like oaks, it is essential. Oaks are susceptible to oak wilt, spread by beetles that are attracted to fresh wounds in the wood. “You only want to prune an oak when it’s too cold for beetles,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois.
- Pruning in late winter invigorates the plant and promotes abundant fresh growth in spring.
- Defective branches are removed. These branches may be dead or be causing damage by rubbing against other branches.
- We thin crowded stems by removing overgrown branches on trees with dense crowns. Thinning improves light penetration and air movement.
- This is a good time to remove water sprouts and suckers. These are the vigorous shoots that develop on the trunks and side branches, or develop near the ground.
Winter Pruning for Aesthetics
- It is easier to see the shape of deciduous plants in winter once the leaves have dropped.
- The goal is to keep the structure of the tree or shrub. Bare stems make the job of shaping and spotting diseased growth much easier.
- We may reduce height or spread of the crown or individual branches to keep it in scale to the architecture or plants in the surrounding area.
- Lower branches are removed to provide clearance for movement below the canopy.
Careful and thoughtful pruning removes weaker stems to promote stronger growth of existing stems, or removes existing stems altogether to encourage fresh, new growth and encourage flowering. Pruning maintains the structure of the plant and the design intent of the installation.
Our Landscape Maintenance program begins with Winter Pruning. It is the first visit of the year. Visits in spring, summer, and fall complete the annual cycle. We are committed to the beauty and care of your custom Four Seasons Landscape. Early sign up for the Maintenance Program is encouraged as the schedule always fills quickly. You can find more information about our Maintenance Program for your landscape or call us at 248-543-4400.