If you do not like yard work, winter is a holiday for you. Of course, you have to shovel or blow the snow, but for six months, no clippers, weeding or pruning!
That being said, you should not neglect the pruning of your trees and shrubs in winter, even if they are sometimes difficult to see under all this snow. Here’s why.
No insects or diseases
Another advantage of the cold season: there are no insects! In addition to being disturbing, these small critters invade plants in warmer weather by penetrating the cuts resulting from pruning.
Diseases can also seep into a tree or shrub by the cuts you make, but these bacteria and fungi are dormant during the winter. Some bugs are very virulent; pruning in hot weather increases the chances of spread. You may even spread diseases from one plant to another with your tools.
Easy identification of branches to prune
Without foliage, it is easier to identify places that require your attention (once the snow is removed, of course) and to avoid accidentally cutting off healthy branches. One can see the diseased branches that straddle sturdy branches. The vegetation below is also less likely to be unduly damaged during the process.
Pruning dead branches makes your property safer. This is especially true in winter because of ice and snow accumulations after storms. Remove dead branches near sidewalks and entrance before they become dangerous. You can also change the remaining branch to give it a shape that will better support the additional weight.
Wait until the branches thaw before cutting. You risk damaging them by trying to break the ice. It is also recommended to straighten branches as much as possible to prevent them from staying in this position.
The production of individual trees (e.g., apple trees) will benefit from winter pruning since they will have time to recover before the start of the growing season. The branches pruned at this time of the year also heal faster, which minimizes the loss of sap.
Respect for the natural functions of the tree
In cold weather, trees retain most of their carbohydrates and nutrients in the roots. Pruning in winter has much less impact on the tree’s energy reserves.
If you prune a tree in cold weather, it will produce fewer leaves in the spring. You may think that it is not a good thing, but in fact, it is beneficial: as the aerial parts of the tree are less critical, it will be able to develop using less water and nutrients.
The frozen ground will better support the weight of equipment
If you need the stuff to reach the tallest branches, frozen ground will help their weight more effectively than soft sand in spring, summer, and fall.
Less work for you in the spring
In the spring, there are several things to do in the yard once the snow is gone. If you’ve already done tree pruning, you’ll have more time to focus on tasks that cannot be done in the winter.
If you’re the type to do less activity in the winter, a little work in the yard will help you stay active and in good shape. And it will be even more satisfying to relax in the evening in front of a beautiful fire!