Pruning in Winter?

by Andrew Turff

Pruning in Winter?

Pruning in Winter?

It may not seem long since we were eating our Christmas dinners, but the start of the gardening year isn’t that far away.Come March, plenty of people will be tending to their gardens at the weekend, and there’ll be plenty of tasks for them to complete. 

I’ve noticed that when it comes to trees and pruning, many people seem to want their trees reduced out of season. 

In my last blog post I covered Cherry trees, explaining that they shouldn’t be pruned in the dormant season - and Walnut, Horse Chestnut, Birch and Maples also bleed if pruned now, and we don’t want that.

So, what can be pruned now?

And when I say ‘now’ I mean the dormant season. Oak trees are one of many that can be pruned, but instead I find that many home owners direct their arborist (tree surgeon) to carry out the work when the trees are in full leaf. What’s wrong with that? 

Well simply put, the tree is putting all its energy into making leaf, whereas in the dormant season it will do the reverse and put its energy into healing the pruning wounds. That’s far better for the tree.

Are there any other reasons to prune in the dormant season?

In my opinion, it’s actually much easier to see what needs to be done as far as pruning or full crown reduction is concerned because there is no leaf. It’s also a great time to ‘crown clean’ - i.e. remove deadwood, crossing branches, etc. 

Also, from a customer’s point of view, they are far less likely to be active in the garden at this time so disruption is kept to a minimum.