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Prune Your Trees This Winter

Winter can be the ideal season for pruning. All the leaves on the trees have fallen, allowing you to remove damaged or unwanted limbs with relative ease. The trick, however, is knowing which branches to cut, and why.

Remember the 3D’s

Always remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches as soon as possible (regardless of the current season). Pruning sick or injured limbs prevents insects and harmful organisms from entering the tree. Eliminate crossing branches to prevent abrasion damage. If your trees have grown a dense canopy, it is best to thin the canopy to increase the flow of air and sunlight to help prevent disease and promote growth. Well-pruned trees produce additional flowers and fruit. Prudent pruning helps trees and shrubs defend against disease and pests, so they will require less maintenance in the future.

Many times it is wise to prune healthy branches, simply because their location can be a safety hazard to humans and animals. Prune low hanging branches, or any limbs that overhang a sidewalk or driveway; you don’t want heavy branches falling onto areas of high-traffic during harsh storms or winds.

Sometimes, erratic or unusual branches grow in locations that change the growth habits of adjacent limbs, which results in a convoluted, misshaped tree. Pruning these devious branches as early as possible can help promote a more natural shape.

For more information on why (and how) to properly prune your trees, visit This Old House.

For larger branches, or branches that are too high to reach with a pole saw, it is recommended that you enlist the services of an experienced professional. The experts at Ryan Lawn and Tree Care Services can help you remove any problematic branches and limbs. Visit our website for a free tree care estimate today!


Winter pruning is an important part of any good landscape maintenance program, and it’s a great way to keep your trees During the winter, most woody plants are dormant and so are the many diseases and insects that can potentially invade pruning cuts.

When pruning stored energy that has accumulated in the roots and branches of a tree is then released. This surge of energy results in increased growth for those branch areas it reaches leading to increased growth. With the leaves blown away in fall, a tree’s overall structure is more easily seen. This not only helps the pruner make smarter cuts but also provides a better look into the overall health of the tree and its branch structure.

The spreading of disease is often facilitated through insects located on pruning cuts. The insects carry the disease to other trees and plants infecting them. Since these insects are often not present during winter, the risks of infection are lessened. When pruning in the spring and summer, care must be taken in how and where large branches fall. They can damage fragile plants and flower beds below. During winter, the vegetation is not present, allowing the pruner to work more efficiently and quickly.

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