6 Essential Tips for Winter Tree Pruning in Edmonton
One of the questions most commonly asked of certified Arborist Mike Burge of Arbor Man Tree Care is, “When is the best time to prune trees?”
Edmonton has a unique climate, and a lot of the guides out there do not take into account our “special” winters! Edmonton’s trees have to be hardier than their southern cousins due to our extreme climate fluctuations. Because of how short our growing season is, you want to allow as much time for trees to flourish during the warmer weather.
During winter, your trees enter a dormant phase, which is the best time to alter a tree’s shape. It allows the tree to regrow faster in the spring. It is also easier to see the shape of the tree once the foliage is gone. Winter pruning is far better for your tree and much easier since you don’t have to navigate through thick leaves.
Let’s get to the winter tree pruning tips.
- Prune at the right time for your trees
- Use the right tools
- Check for disease
- Shape your tree with intention
- Should I use a pruning sealer
- Consult an expert
1. Prune at the right time for your trees
Pruning at the right time is critical to the health of your trees! Make sure to prune only after the tree or shrub is dormant. If you prune too early, the incisions can dry out when the temperature dips. Pruning in the winter stimulates growth.
If you prune while the sap is flowing in the summer, there are risks. Risks such as pests and disease can destroy your tree. Oak trees especially should not be pruned in the summer. Experts prune some trees, such as fruit trees, to increase the fruit yield. Heavy pruning in the summer can inhibit growth.
2. Use the Right Tools
By using the correct tools, you can minimize the trauma inflicted on the tree by pruning. Sharp well maintained tools such as:
- Pruning shears
- Lopping shears
- Pole pruners
- Hedge shears
- Pruning saws
- Fan or leaf rake
- Bow or hard rake
- Pitch Fork.
These are the tools that any certified arborist begins with when it comes to pruning.
3. Check for Disease
Once all the foliage has fallen from your tree, it is much easier to see the tree’s structure. Your pruning should involve inspecting for disease and excising any diseased branches. Some signs of tree disease include:
- Bark abnormalities
- Dead branches
- Leaf discoloration
- Poor architecture
You can save many trees from tree disease with judicious pruning at the right time.
4. Shape Your Tree with Intention
By shaping your tree, you can make it look more aesthetically pleasing and more robust. It would be best if you pruned your tree to fit the space it is in and make it more structurally sound. It is easy to remove evergreen trees’ low branches when the tree is dormant.
For deciduous trees, it is more complicated. Try to prune unruly, weak, diseased, and problem branches right away. Eliminate weak or narrow crotches to promote the most substantial branches. Pruning any branches growing towards the center of the tree will promote better growth and aesthetics. Branches that are growing straight-up, called waterspouts, break the branch’s architecture and should get pruned. Finally, suckers that grow straight up out of the ground from a roof need to get pruned.
The idea of pruning is to shape your tree, fit your space, and become stronger/robust.
5. Should I Use a Pruning Sealer?
Should I use a pruning sealer? The short answer is no.
They reduce the trees’ ability to heal when the growing season begins. Because we are pruning in winter, the tree is already dormant. Just make sure you prune on a dry day to minimize wetness on the freshly pruned branches.
In Edmonton, during winter, it is frigid and dry. Pruning sealers are typically used in summer pruning to prevent disease.
6. Consult an Expert
Pruning can be a complicated project, especially when dealing with mature or fruit trees. Expert advice can help even with the smallest of jobs. If you have ever tried pruning a tree without guidance, most people will find they damage their trees. Over pruning can seriously harm your tree.
For large trees, large projects or fruit trees, it would be wise to call a Certified Arborist. These kinds of jobs have the potential to go sideways, and it is not worth the risk. An expert will give you the comfort of knowing the job is done by a professional.
We have given you a few tips when it comes to pruning your trees in Edmonton. For small jobs and DIY inclined people, there are additional guides you can consult to get even more specific instructions. Call a Certified Arborist for larger jobs or more complicated trees.
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