Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Pruning of Trees, A Timely Task

Most folks are putting away their gardening tools in late fall but don’t be so quick to retire inside for the winter. Did you know that winter is the perfect time to prune most deciduous trees?

Why winter?
There are several good reasons to prune trees in winter:
    •    The foliage is gone and the structure of the branches is clearly visible.
    •    The tree is dormant, this will eliminate the bleeding of sap from the fresh cuts.

    •    In the case of oak trees they should only be pruned during the winter. This is due to the fact that freshly cut oaks emit an odor which attracts the beetle that causes oak wilt. This is a serious disease that often times will kill the tree. The beetles are hibernating during the winter.
    •    There are several other varieties of tress that are less likely to contract diseases when pruned during the winter months. Prune locust to prevent stem canker. Prune apple, crab apple, mountain ash, and hawthorn to avoid fire blight.
Exceptions to winter pruning
As with any rule there are exceptions to winter pruning.
Trees and shrubs that prune in early spring should be pruned immediately after their blooms fade. Some examples of these are chokeberry (Aronia), flowering plum or cherry (Prunus), juneberry (Amelanchier), lilac (Syringa) and deciduous flowering magnolias.

Pruning Guidelines
There is a pruning guideline called the “5 D’s” that describes situations where pruning may be done at any time: these 5 D's are dead, dying, diseased, damaged, or deformed branches.

The rest of the article can be found at Dave's Garden

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