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Seasonal Tree Tips: Winter

Welcome back to winter! It’s a time of year when many homeowners give more thought to the tree inside their house than those surrounding it. Either because their leaves have fallen so trees are simply less noticeable or because of an incorrect assumption that trees shouldn’t be pruned in the winter, residential tree companies end up with fewer calls in the winter than in the summer. But in fact there’s lots of tree work that can — and even SHOULD — be done in the winter!


Because the risk of spreading oak wilt — a deadly fungal disease that only affects oaks — is highest in the spring, winter is an ideal time for oak pruning. Live cuts (pruning out living branches as opposed to dead ones) on oaks in spring and early summer attract fungal-spore-carrying insects that infect the tree through the fresh wound. However, these insects become dormant in winter and the live cuts seal up well before they’re active again in spring. So if you have oaks on your property, waiting til winter to have them pruned will help them stay healthy.


Tree removals, especially large ones, are comparatively quicker and easier in the winter when the leaves have fallen and the sun is no longer scorching hot. Limbing trees (cutting the limbs off one at a time before felling the trunk) and hauling brush is easier because the branches are lighter, and workers can get more done without overheating in the winter than in the summer. It’s very possible that the removal cost of the same tree is less in the winter than it is in the summer.


If tree branches are starting to encroach on your house or reach low over your driveway or street, don’t wait until spring to have them limbed up. As soon as they begin to leaf out the weight of those leaves will drop the branches much lower so they’re suddenly rubbing on your roof or scraping your car as you go by. Then the job becomes urgent right when tree companies start getting flooded with calls and can no longer offer quick turn around.

Worried that your contractor won’t know how to achieve the proper springtime clearance while the tree is bare? Make sure to specify that you want the clearance to last through the spring and summer. A good tree worker is experienced enough to be able to anticipate leaf weight and provide sufficient spring clearance even when pruning in the winter. And a good tree company will be willing to return in the spring at no additional cost if the clearance pruning they provided in winter didn’t actually get the job done once the tree leafed out.


Contrary to popular belief, the winter is actually a great time for almost all tree pruning projects. Because many trees are dormant in the winter, removing limbs causes less strain to the tree as opposed to taking away a lot of leaves while the tree is trying to photosynthesize in spring and summer. And though it may be more difficult for you to spot dead wood or know how much canopy lift a tree actually needs when it’s bare, experienced tree workers have no trouble at all with these things. As an added benefit, many tree companies have slowed down at a time of year when they can actually work harder due to reduced heat-related safety hazards, meaning you could possibly get quicker turnaround for a better price than in the spring and summer.

While you might be planning to hibernate all winter, we’re still beautifying trees somewhere in the metroplex and they might as well be yours! Give us a call to discuss your winter tree needs with our Certified Arborist.

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