Landscaping during the upcoming winter months is probably one of the last things on your mind. But it just so happens to be the ideal time to prune trees and shrubs around your property.
If you’ve never heard of ‘Dormant Pruning’, it is the practice of pruning deciduous trees and shrubs in late Fall to late Winter, while plants are still dormant, before any of the buds begin to swell and open.
What are the benefits of pruning in the dormant season?
Dormant Pruning Saves Time and Money
Without leaves obscuring the plant’s structure, it is much easier and more time-efficient to make decisions on proper pruning cuts and see any prior disease or damage already present on the tree and properly determine a course of action. It can also help reduce the costs of potentially damaging any surrounding delicate landscaping beds; surrounding grass or landscaping beds will receive more sunlight to flourish as a result.
Fresh pruning cuts typically heal much faster during the dormant season. Pruning during Spring and Summer months can put your trees and shrubs at risk for diseases. Disease-carrying insects can spread fungal and bacterial diseases to shrubs and trees, as some insects are lured by freshly trimmed cuts. Oak trees, for instance are especially vulnerable to deadly oak wilt disease when pruned during the Spring and Summer months and may even put other Oak Trees on your property at risk.
Promotes Healing and Growth
Pruning after the onset of new growth can limit the plant’s bloom potential for the year. Dormant pruning not only causes less stress on the plant but it allows for robust new growth in plants that bloom in the spring and summer. By getting rid of dead or damaged limbs during the Winter, combined with the new Spring growth, you will leave your plants stronger and more protected against severe winter weather.
When it comes to the health of your trees and shrubs, the best time to consider pruning is late Fall to late Winter. If you have any deciduous shrubs or trees that lack vigor, appear misshapen, or have outgrown their location, they may be a candidate that can benefit from dormant pruning. To learn more about dormant pruning, check out this article at chicagobotanic.org.
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