It’s a common misconception that you should trim your trees and shrubs during the summer when they’re growing strong.
In Pennsylvania, warm weather pruning can cause unnecessary stress on your plants and leave them susceptible to disease.
Studies show that winter is actually the best time for tree trimming, and here’s why:
1. Less Foliage Means Less Hassle
While you enjoy the full blooms and greenery during the summertime, all this growth can be a real hindrance come pruning time. Bushy leaves and flowers cannot only block access to the part of the tree you have to cut, but they can also cover dead or diseased branches, making them easier to miss.
Plus, on larger trees, this foliage causes branches to become quite heavy, making them cumbersome to cut and dispose of. Skip the hassle of fighting teeming branches and make it easier to identify what needs cut by trimming your tree early to late winter.
2. Winter Pruning is Less Stressful on the Plant
Cutting off a part of your tree puts your plant on high alert. As soon as an injury occurs, your plant will send energy reserves to the site of the wound and begin the healing process. It’s a natural response— mother nature’s way of protecting the plant, just like our own bodies would do.
But tree trimming during the summer can be problematic. Your plant is using its nutrients to protect itself against drought from heat, insect attacks, fighting infections, etc., and may already be in a weakened state. Your tree won’t deplete resources to heal during the winter, when dormant.
3. Dormant Trimming Helps the Plant Come Back Stronger in the Spring
Because your trees and shrubs will be in hibernation mode during the winter, they’ll keep maintaining the energy they need to simply survive. Once warmer weather hits, the plant will “wake up” and realize it was cut.
From here, your plant will immediately start shooting resources towards the wound, when it’s able to collect the nutrients it needs to regrow. Come spring, blooms will come in fuller, foliage bushier and, overall, growth will occur more quickly. Others also find seasonal pruning increases the longevity of your plant’s overall lifespan.
4. Most Insects & Fungi Go Dormant in the Winter
Just like we need a strong immune system to fight off disease, your trees and bushes, too, need to be healthy to guard against infection. During the fall, summer and spring, bugs and fungus thrive— all threats to your plant’s well-being. Fortunately, most insects and fungi also go dormant in the wintertime.
Trimming your trees and shrubs during the colder weather season helps to ensure your plant’s wounds aren’t exposed to infection or attacked when already weakened. By time spring starts, your plant will start a speedy recovery, before bugs and other growth can inhibit its healing.
5. You Have More Time in the Winter
During active growth seasons, you likely have your hands full! Your landscape requires a lot of care and attention. Between weekly mows to gardening, you simply might not have the time to prune all your trees and shrubs.
Colder temperatures stop new growth, reducing your landscape maintenance. In fact, after winterizing your yard, all outdoor efforts will likely come to a halt. During these dormant months, you’ll have more time for tree trimming and pruning.
6. Trimming Heavy Branches on Large Trees Can Protect Your Property
As a Pennsylvania resident, you’re prepared for some snow. All it takes is one big storm to pile heavy snowfall on weakened branches. The weight can cause them to snap, and, depending on the size and location of your tree, these branches can fall and cause a lot of damage.
7. Less Clean-Up Come Spring
Even if damaged branches don’t cause any harm falling off, these limbs can collect your property. Come spring, you might have some hefty clean-up to do. Trimming your trees and shrubs in the winter can save you time picking up debris later on.
Pruning Done Right
Winter time is ideal for trimming your outdoor plants in Pennsylvania, causing the least amount of stress and helping to promote more robust growth come spring.
We recommend winter pruning as a general rule, but there are a few species that are exceptions. Ask us about your exact type of tree or bush. Our expert landscapers can offer recommendations for the best cut— or, do the pruning for you!
Explore our Landscape Maintenance services or give us a call at 610.499.1640, today.