3 reasons winter dormant pruning is useful

Dormant pruning is when you prune trees and shrubs when they are not actively growing. Every species requires different care, but there are three main applications where dormant pruning is effective or necessary.

West Springs Tree Preservation in Calgary offers tree care and arborist services. They share more information on when and why you should consider winter dormant pruning:

3 reasons winter dormant pruning is useful

Disease management

Unfortunately, tree diseases are common to trees used in landscaping. Thankfully, many of these diseases, like fireblight, cannot survive outside the tree or spread to new pruning cuts in colder weather. If you time it right, you can prune infected parts of the tree without having it spread further. In the growing season, pathogens can infect fresh pruning wounds.

If you attempt to prune in an infected tree during the growing season, it will be more work for the arborist. They must disinfect the tools regularly to prevent the disease from spreading. The more time it takes, the more the customer will pay in labour. Winter dormant pruning can be less expensive in many situations.

Structural pruning

In the winter, the shape and structure of the tree or shrub are more visible. This allows pruners to remove diseased, dead, or weak branches. It’s a good time to cut back plants that are too close together or to a building. Not only will it look better in the winter, but dormant winter pruning results in less sap loss, and that can minimize the stress put on the plant.

Bylaws mandate dormant pruning

In some cases, a bylaw might mandate dormant pruning for certain tree specifics. For example, the Alberta Elm pruning bylaw states that the only legal time to prune elms in Alberta is between October 1st and March 31st each year. Each jurisdiction might have its own bylaw restricting the pruning of certain species outside of dormant periods. This is done to help prevent disease or pests from spreading due to growing season pruning. In the case of the Alberta elm, it’s a preventative control to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.

Growing season pruning

If you’re not dealing with disease control or pruning bylaws, the best time to prune trees has always been under debate. WS Tree Preservation shares the belief that pruning just before new growth starts in the spring can help the tree’s ability to seal over a pruning wound. Pruning at this time can also minimize the loss of next year’s blooms. Pruning in the spring can also help you see the difference between deadwood and live branches – something that is more difficult in the wintertime.

If the leaves are fully expanded, stick to moderate pruning at the most. The tree has just used much of its reserves to grow those leaves and needs more food to replenish. It’s not the best time for a dramatic prune. If you’re unsure, connect with WS Tree Preservation for advice.

Trust the advice and service of arborists in Calgary

West Springs Tree Preservation provides a range of tree care services. A certified arborist is a distinctly trained professional within the horticultural industry who is committed to the study and care of trees. WS Tree Preservation offers pruning, disease and pest control, soil and root care, fertilizing, tree removal, management for natural areas, and preservation for veteran trees.

Preserve your beautiful and valuable trees. Contact WS Tree Preservation.

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