Structural Pruning in the Wintertime- No Leaves, No Problem!

With outward appearances, winter may not seem like the time to take care of your trees and shrubs, but the reality is that the winter season provides some distinct advantages for pruning.   When it comes to structural pruning of trees, it might just be the best time.  Structural pruning can be defined as “selective removal of competing and interfering branches to improve the strength and durability of a tree”.  With the dropping of leaves the branch structure of trees become much more visible and the arborist is able to see which branches are best to remove.  

Without leaves obscuring the view, the arborist will see which branches have defects such as cracks, weakened attachment points and rubbing and criss-crossing branches.   Competing leaders are removed or shortened, encouraging strong central leaders that will hold up against the rigors of snow and ice.  

Winter pruning is not only for trees, shrubs can also benefit tremendously from winter work as well.  Many types of shrubs have multiple stems and selectively thinning out some of the competing stems can aid the growth and health of the plant. The dormant winter season allows the luxury of seeing through thick clusters of stems and finding the best ones to remove.

 Image result for training pruning of trees

There are other advantages to winter work besides clearly seeing into the canopy of trees and shrubs.  Dormant gardens allow arborists easier access into prized garden areas with minimal disturbance.  The winter season often means frozen ground.  This can allow us to bring heavier equipment such as aerial lifts into the yard to access hard to reach places.  Bringing an aerial lift often increases efficiency and safety on a job and thus can bring a lower cost to the project.


Benefits of winter tree work

  • Easier viewing into the canopy to see which branches should be pruned.

  • Insects and diseaes are dormant and susceptible trees can be pruned without concern.

  • Areas that are typically densely foliated in summer are easier to access in winter.

  • Equipment such as aerial lifts and brush loader machines can access areas otherwise unattainable in spring or summer and can transverse snowy areas without us having to drag debris long distances.

  • Our professional arborists take pride in being able to work in all conditions and love to work all year long. 

Contact Hoppe Tree Service to receive an estimate or recommendations for winter work on your trees.


By: August Hoppe

Certified Arborist WI-477A

Hoppe Tree Service

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