Winter can be the perfect time for pruning trees. The optimal time is usually after several deep frosts have occurred as it helps to ensure your deciduous trees are dormant. Diseases are also less likely to set in and the leaf-free branches are much easier to see and reach.
Pruning should only be done if absolutely necessary. For instance, branches are imposing a possible dangerous situation, they are encroaching upon areas where they should not be, or branches are rubbing against each other, causing damage to the tree itself.
Some basic rules for pruning are:
- - Never cut mid-branch. Always cut at an angle just above the swollen collar where the two branches intersect. The collar provides a protective ‘shield’ as the tree heals. Removing the collar leaves your tree vulnerable to disease.
- - If pruning smaller branches and twigs, prune back to just above the next bud on the branch where you want your small branch to end.
- - Don’t overdo it. Never prune more than ¼ of the crown of your tree at one time.
Not all deciduous trees should be pruned in winter. Spring blooming trees flower on last year’s growth. Pruning them too soon can result in fewer flowers.
As far as Evergreens are concerned… as a general rule, these fair best when pruned in early to late spring. Shearing needle leafed evergreens is best done while these plants are semi-dormant – during midsummer!
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