If you have a few trees in your yard, then you have probably received advice (solicited or otherwise) to prune them in winter. Unfortunately, most of those who give the advice fail to provide reasons for their claim. If you are like most people, however, you only find it easy to follow advice once you understand the reason behind it. With that in mind, here are four good reasons why winter tree pruning makes good sense:
Reduced Risk of Damage
Pruning may be beneficial to the health of a tree in the long term, but it may also weaken the tree in the short term. For one, the plant loses some of its leaves, which it needs to manufacture food. Second, the cut surfaces ooze sap and water, which the plant requires for growing. Pruning in winter reduces this damage because the plant doesn't lose as much moisture (due to the low temperatures) as it would if you cut the branches in the summer. Also, the damage due to loss of leaves is minimal because growth during the winter isn't vigorous.
Low Risk of Infection
Pruning increases a tree's susceptibility to diseases. It's easier for dangerous microorganisms to enter the tree's system via the cut surfaces as compared to whole surfaces. Also, the cutting lowers the plant's resistance to diseases.
Pruning during the winter lowers the risk of infection because the tree is dormant at this time. As such, it doesn't require as many resources (water and nutrients) to grow so it can spare some to bolster up its defenses. At the same time, most of the organisms (such as fungi and insects) that would harm the tree are likely to be dormant at this time too.
When pruning a tree, you need to see all the limbs and branches clearly so that you can tell which ones to snap off and which ones to keep. That may not be easy during other seasons of the year when the plant is thriving and full of leaves. When the leaf cover reduces during winter, then visibility increases and you can prune with ease.
Avoid Fruit Damage
If you have fruit trees, then an added advantage of winter pruning is that you don't risk damaging the fruits. If you do it in summer, then you deny the plants their source of food (the leaves) and slow down the process of fruit ripening. Summer pruning also exposes fruits to excessive sunlight; depending on where you live, they can experience excessive sunburn and damage.
For more information, contact Troyer Tree Service Inc. or a similar company.