Autumn may be the most beautiful season in the Delaware Valley. The magnificent fall foliage is a natural phenomenon that one can’t help but admire. While you enjoy fall’s colors, keep in mind that winter is the ideal time to prune your large specimen trees.
After the leaves drop, you may notice a significant change in the branch structure. Your trees may have too much weight on the ends of the branches and need to be thinned to reduce the load on the limbs. Weight reduction is especially important for trees growing in full sun which have a large spread to their canopy.
After trees are pruned, a healing process, called compartmentalization, is responsible for closing the cuts, or wounds. Compartmentalization starts, and is most active, in the spring when trees return from dormancy and begin their new growth. Winter pruning allows pathogens the least amount of time to attack a wound in a tree.
Another reason to consider winter pruning is to save the understory trees and shrubs, garden plants and groundcovers from being damaged by falling limbs.
American Elms are only to be pruned in the winter because pruning during any other season is sure to entice the Elm Bark Beetle to attack the tree and kill it. Mature Sycamores, Maples, and Oaks are all perfect candidates for winter pruning as well.
As a general rule of thumb, each tree on your property should be pruned at least once every five years, so you should consider having twenty percent of your trees pruned each winter.
Call your arborist for a fall property inspection and analysis to determine which of your trees should be pruned this winter so they may flourish for years to come.