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Who Needs Leaves? Prune Away, Even in Winter!

Written by Jacob Casey, Certified Arborist ISA RM-8108A


With fall colors fading away in SE Wisconsin, trees are shedding their leaves and offering us a brand new lens to observe them. This means we're approaching the prime time to give your trees some TLC with winter pruning! This essential maintenance task is a game changer in the winter season. Winter pruning is a rockstar move that brings a ton of perks, like clearer visibility, pest and disease management, and encouraging new growth, to name a few.


Image Source: Westchestertreelife.com


Clear Visibility

With the absence of leaves, the structure of the tree is fully visible during the winter. This clear visibility allows arborists to identify any structural issues, such as weak or crossing branches, that may not be apparent during other seasons. By addressing these issues early on, potential hazards can be mitigated, and the tree's overall health and form can be improved.


Disease & Pest Management

Many pests and diseases overwinter in tree branches, twigs, or buds. Pruning during the winter allows for the removal of infected or infested branches, reducing the risk of spreading diseases or pests to other parts of the tree or nearby plants during the growing season.


Storm Damage Prevention

Winter pruning helps to minimize potential damage caused by severe weather conditions, such as snow, ice, or strong winds. Weak, damaged, or dead branches can be identified and removed, reducing the risk of branch failure during storms. By removing these vulnerable branches, the tree is better equipped to withstand harsh weather conditions, ensuring the safety of nearby property and people.


Improved Air Circulation and Light Penetration

Pruning during winter improves the airflow through the tree's canopy, reducing the risk of snow or ice accumulation. This enhanced air circulation helps to prevent the buildup of moisture, which can lead to disease or decay. Additionally, winter pruning allows for better light penetration, ensuring that sunlight can reach lower branches and the tree's interior. Improved light exposure stimulates photosynthesis and promotes the overall health and vigor of the tree.


Encourages New Growth

Winter pruning redirects the tree's energy towards the remaining branches and vital growth areas. By selectively removing branches, the tree is encouraged to develop new shoots and canopy growth in the upcoming spring. This promotes a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing tree shape, while also ensuring the tree's continued vitality and growth.


Winter pruning offers numerous benefits for trees. By taking advantage of the leafless season, arborists can assess the tree's structure, address potential issues, manage diseases and pests, prevent storm damage, improve air circulation and light penetration, and encourage new growth. Winter pruning is a critical practice that contributes to the overall health and safety of trees.


Hoppe Tree Service offers tree inspection services during the dormant season. Our Certified Arborists can walk through your property and look for tree safety issues, routine maintenance, and plant health care needs to ensure that your trees are taken care of. If you are interested in having a no-cost, no-obligation tree inspection of your trees and shrubs this fall or winter, give us a call at 414-257-2111 or sign up below.



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