As you settle inside this winter, you may not be thinking much about your yard except for maybe planning your flower-beds when the snow melts. But actually winter is an ideal, and many say, key time to think of the trees. So before you decline to wade into a backyard project in knee-deep snow, consider these reasons why winter is high time to trim your trees.
Trees advertised as fast-growing are typically weak-wooded and prone to decay and often have limbs that break off easily in wind and ice. Better to get these trees in tip-top shape before someone gets injured or property is damaged.
On the practical side, just as you may become inundated with outdoor projects in the spring and summer, so do tree professionals. If you reserve your tree trimming for winter, you will have more time, as will your arborist.
If you got a high price last Spring to take a tree down and the job wasn’t time-sensitive, now ask, “What would the winter price be?” Many tree services are slow in the winter, and may give you a break on the price.
Ensure tree health
For trees, the colder it is, the better, according to tree experts. Fungus, bacteria and bugs aren’t active in cold weather. Prune your trees and promote their health by removing dead or dying branches that have previously been injured by disease, insects, mites, animals, storms or people.
Frigid temperatures and the lack of leaf cover make it the best season for tree maintenance: You and your tree specialist can have a better look at the structure of the tree and spot problems more readily.
Between growing seasons
Plants are dormant during winter, which means fresh wounds will only be exposed for only a short amount of time – just until the spring when new growth begins sealing new wounds.
The frozen ground allows an arborist the ability to reach areas and use equipment and that may otherwise be difficult to access.
One major exception:
One major exception to the winter pruning rule is most flowering trees: these should be pruned soon after they drop their blooms, because their blossoms are set the previous year.
But before the first cut…
Ask your tree expert if he or she is certified. Ideally, you want someone who’s a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists, the International Society of Arboriculture, the Tree Care Industry Association, or your state or local arborists’ association. Avoid hiring someone who knocks on your door unless you can verify their qualifications. The best arborists are booked well in advance, not going door-to-door looking for work.