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Pruning Trees in Winter: Creating Space and Light During the Cold Season

If you don’t prune a landscape tree or shrub correctly, you’ll run the risk of destroying it or significantly reducing its potential as a landscape feature. 

On the other hand, proper pruning brings out the natural beauty of the plant. Therefore, most professional arborists in Rangiora advise against DIY tree pruning to avoid any risk of doing it poorly.

Naturally, plants are designed to survive for years with none or very little tree pruning in Rangiora. Incorrect pruning techniques may result in the weakening or malformation of otherwise robust plants. 

Every plant experiences some form of natural pruning at some point in its lifetime. For example, in the case of lower branches being shaded by the higher ones, which leads to a collar formation at the base of the branch, preventing moisture and nutrients from flowing freely.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss the correct techniques of tree pruning, recommended by arborists in Rangiora. Keep reading to see how you can prepare for the winter season. 

Try to follow proper tree pruning techniques

Like any other skill, tree pruning, also, requires some practice and correct knowledge for someone to master. The age-old notion that anybody who owns a chain saw or a pruning saw can work as a landscape pruner is quite outdated and far from today’s reality. It’s a bit more complicated than that. 

Every year we are losing more and more trees owing to improper pruning, rather than due to pest infestation. It’s important to keep in mind that tree pruning involves removing or reducing specific plant parts that are no longer needed or aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as they used to be. Tree pruning is performed since it helps provide excess energy for developing the flowers, fruits, and limbs that remain on the plant after the process is complete.

Pruning, which can mean a few different things depending on the context, generally refers to the practice of removing plant parts to enhance the plant’s health, aesthetic appeal, or value. What we, at ProArb Canterbury, believe is that pruning is primarily a matter of common sense once you know the end goal and are aware of a few basic principles.

Once you’ve chosen your desired plant (keeping in mind your home’s location), the number of pruning requirements can be lessened or even completely avoided. Plants that have the tendency to become completely unappealing with time, or have grown too big to fit in their own space, or are losing their sturdiness over time should be used with due care and kept to a minimum in the landscape plan.

The nursery industry has made significant strides in plant breeding and selection, leading to the availability of a diverse range of plants that require very little or no pruning. However, even the most well-suited plants for landscaping may routinely call for some form of pruning. When it comes to pruning any plant, the guidelines that are presented in this publication should be helpful.

Winter is usually the best time to prune most trees and shrubs

If you want your trees and shrubs to thrive and look their best throughout the year, you should prune them on a regular basis, especially during the winter season. Here are top 5 reasons why winter is the best time for pruning:

  1. Winter is a good time to prune because most woody plants, even the countless number of insects and diseases that usually enter through any wounds, are mostly dormant at this time. Therefore, if you prune your trees and shrubs while the temperature is cold, you won’t have to worry about new infections.
  2. It is much easier to keep a check on the overall form and structure of your plants when the leaves have fallen off. When damaged or diseased branches are not hidden by vegetation, they become more visible.
  3. Inducing new growth in the late summer or early fall can help it harden off before the cold weather arrives. This is not an issue during the colder months.
  4. Pruning your plants in the winter is beneficial for them because it leaves them with additional root and energy reserves, allowing them to repair wounds more rapidly and encourage healthy growth in the spring, which will hide the pruning cuts.
  5. Winter pruning is also beneficial since it gives you an excuse to get outside on a warm winter day and enjoy your surroundings.

Even though winter and early spring are ideal for pruning, you may want to wait until after the tree or shrub has finished blooming if the flowers are really important to you. Even though doing winter pruning on plants that bloom in the spring will never have a negative impact on the health of the plant, it may diminish the number of flowers produced by the plant.

Pruning woody plants

Pruning woody plants can be done for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to know what these are before you get started. Ask yourself, “Why am I cutting this branch off?” before you make the first cut. You should go into this project with a plan and an idea of how you want the shrub or tree to turn out when you are finished. This way, you stop yourself from going overboard. 

The majority of homeowners prune their plants for the purpose of either reducing the size of their plant or keeping it at their current size. Other reasons to prune include cutting branches that are broken, diseased, or dead; increasing the number of blooms or fruits; promoting growth; and removing branches that may be impeding pedestrians, vehicles, or structures.

When it comes to trimming most types of woody plants, the two most fundamental methods are known as ‘thinning’ and ‘heading back.’ When the goal of the process is the same—that is to reduce or keep the size of the plant, it is suggested that both of these strategies be used simultaneously. Using pruning equipment that is well-maintained, of high-quality, and sharp will make the process easier and reduce the risk of causing damage to your plants when you employ either of these two procedures.

What is “thinning”?

The term “thinning” refers to the practice of removing an entire branch back to the next branch or the main trunk. This process improves the health of the tree as well as its form by removing diseased and unhealthy branches, as well as improving the amount of light that enters the tree and the flow of air. It’s important to remember not to make thinning cuts too close to the trunk or the next branch since this could result in damage to the area around the branch’s base. This is referred to as the branch collar. 

You will slow down the healing process and maybe raise the danger of infection if you cut into or remove the branch collar. If you do it correctly, you should observe a healthy callus encircling the cut in the spring.

Head back

When you head back, all you are doing is cutting back the length of the branch until it reaches a bud or the next side branch. A correct heading back cut must never lead to the formation of a stub. If you leave a stub after trimming, it will likely rot, which will then attract insects and diseases that will harm the good parts of the plant. When you prune, make your cut at an angle just above a bud or side branch.

If you take the time to carefully prune your trees and shrubs while they are dormant in the winter, you will have more time in the spring to appreciate the fruits of your labour in the form of blooms and foliage. You will see that you hard work paid off.

If you have any inquiries or want to connect with us for tree pruning in Rangiora, please feel free to get in touch with us.