Landscaping Lesson: Preparing Your Trees for Winter

Landscaping Lesson: Preparing Your Trees for Winter

Fall is a favorite time to enjoy trees and their foliage. It is also a critical time for tree maintenance and preparing your landscape for the upcoming cold winter weather.

Tree pruning, especially, is essential in the fall. A healthy tree or shrub will survive the winter just fine, but a tree infected with disease or pests may suffer. During cold weather, dead branches can break off and fall, causing damage to power lines or structures on your property.

Pruning keeps trees in shape, gets rid of dead and diseased wood, and encourages healthy new growth. While some trees and shrubs will benefit from maintenance year round, it is important that trees are pruned properly during the right season as well.

Gardener pruning a treeTree Pruning Do’s

  • Dead, dying limbs should be pruned from the crown of the tree. Tangled limbs and other questionable branches that might cause damage if they fall should also be removed. If the crown is extremely dense, branches can be thinned out to improve light penetration and wind circulation.
  • Trees should only be pruned to maintain shape (not size), to remove dead or diseased wood, or to keep limbs from touching structures. Retain branches that have strong, U-shaped angles.
  • If you live in an area where scale, aphid, gall wasp and other insect pests are active, consider applying a fall insecticide treatment to the soil. This will help control the pests next year. Fertilizer can be applied as needed.

Tree Topping DangersTree Pruning Don’ts

  • Do not “top off” trees. While reducing the crown to lower the tree’s height is acceptable, beware of getting carried away and topping the tree. Tree topping is a poor pruning practice that leaves stubs and can cause health problems and destroy the tree’s natural shape. It can also promote suckering and increase weak branch structures.
  • Do not remove more than one-fourth of a living crown at once. If you need to remove more than that, spread it out over a number of years.
  • Do not attempt advanced tree trimming, limb removal or pruning techniques on your own. Many aspects of tree care are best left for landscaping professionals.

Trees are one of most valued features of any commercial or residential property. Improper pruning and care can make trees unhealthy and even kill them. If you are ready to prepare your trees and landscaping for the winter months ahead, contact the professionally-trained arborists at Simpson Landscape for more information.