Although trees lose their leaves in the autumn and they do not grow back until the following spring, pruning is most popular during the winter period. We advise our customers asking for landscaping in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas, that winter is the best time for us to carry out our pruning duties. If you are unsure about why it is important to prune and how to prune a tree, then look no further. We have come up with a helpful guide on pruning trees in winter.

Become An Expert In Pruning Trees In Winter

It is important to understand when the right time is to prune trees as well as how to avoid infecting or damaging a healthy tree. Although you may think that hacking a tree to its trunk is an effective way of rejuvenating the tree, this can actually cause further problems down the line. Nurturing a tree when it is young will ensure that the tree grows strong and healthy, which will inevitably minimise future problems. So, to become the perfect pruner, here are some tips from professional tree surgeons in Buckingham.

Why You Need To Prune

Pruning is an important part of tree maintenance, especially during the colder months. When you prune trees, it encourages the branches on the tree to grow back strong, increases flower and fruit production and improves the health of the tree. It is critical not to neglect trees during the winter so that they come back looking vibrant and healthy in the spring. Some reasons to prune your trees include:

  • Manage tree health
  • Improves aesthetics
  • Improves the trees structure
  • Can save a damaged tree
  • Manage fruit production
  • Ensures vibrant flower production

If you do not prune your trees, you risk the tree catching a disease and possibly dying. Although trees may look dormant during the winter months, they are still alive and still require regular maintenance.

For young trees, pruning may be vital for them to grow a stable and healthy form which will remain strong as it ages. Most of the problems that older trees face can actually be prevented when the tree is young. Making sure that you look after the tree and prune it during the winter while it is young, will help to prevent future problems.

Diseased Tree

When Not To Prune

Even if your tree is looking a bit dormant, the likelihood is that its roots are still alive and healthy. Pruning whenever you have a spare moment, merely to make it look luscious, can actually damage it. As professional tree surgeons, we have seen a lot of damaged trees from over-pruning and not pruning in the perfect conditions. Most people begin to prune in the autumn and spring, although there is less heat and therefore less evaporation, it encourages trees to grow at a time when they are trying to go dormant. This makes the tree more susceptible to diseases, which will, therefore, make it harder to prune.

Autumn Trees

Are You Trying To Harvest?

There are different ways of pruning, depending on the type of tree you are looking after. Making sure that you prune certain trees a specific way will enhance the growth and harvest of the fruit. You will then need to establish a timeframe that you should work too, so that your trees are pruned at the perfect time. The different times to prune fruit trees are as follows:

  • Apple trees are best pruned in late winter and takes place before growth beings to sprout again in the spring.
  • Pear trees require you to open the tree to ripen the wood so is best performed at the beginning of winter so that the sun does not dry out the moisture within the tree
  • Orange trees are best pruned before the winter season and then meticulously cared for throughout the colder temperatures.

Apple Tree

Deciduous Trees

A deciduous tree is a tree that loses its leaves during the winter and often grows oaks, maples and beeches. Due to the nature of these trees, they are best pruned during the winter period. Regular maintenance of the tree will require less pruning during the winter; however, if your deciduous tree is old and has been neglected for some time, it will require a lot of maintenance to get it healthy. Unfortunately, to rejuvenate your deciduous tree, you will have to prune the tree significantly, which means that it may not be able to flower for a few years. However, by doing so, the tree will grow back healthier and stronger.

When trees being to lose their leaves, the natural reaction of some gardeners is to start pruning immediately. However, it can cause damage to the tree if you prune it at the wrong time. A deciduous tree does not like to be pruned between August and early September as it will encourage diseases and damage the tree significantly.

Oak Tree

Regulations And Restrictions

Before you begin pruning any tree, make sure that you are aware of any restrictions that the tree may have. This can be anything from a Tree Preservation Order to the tree being in a Conservation Area. If you find that your tree is under any restrictions, you will need to contact your local council and ask for permission before altering the appearance of the tree. Cutting the tree without planning permission can lead to penalties such as fines, so make sure that you are aware of any restrictions before taking on a project.
Authorised Planning Permission

How To Prune A Tree

The first thing that you will need to do is assess the safety of the tree, if you feel that your skills and capabilities are not strong enough to handle the tree, then hire a professional. As professional tree surgeons in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas, we know that it can be extremely dangerous to carry out any tree maintenance if you do not know the health and safety regulations. Trained tree surgeons can determine what maintenance is required for the tree to become healthier as well as having the equipment to carry out the project.

However, if you are a garden expert and wish to carry out tree pruning, then following this guide will ensure that your project runs smoothly:

  • Identify the skeleton of the tree – this will be the branches that hold the structure of the tree. It is important not to remove these branches.
  • Remove damaged branches – make sure you remove all the damaged branches first so that the tree can gain nutrients such as water, which can then be distributed to healthier branches and promote healthier regrowth.
  • Thin out populated areas – by thinning out areas where there are a lot of branches, you can open the plant to air circulation. For healthier regrowth, the tree will need good circulation to avoid the growth of fungus and diseases.
  • Little snips – identify areas that need to be pruned and cut them one by one, stepping back each time to determine whether you need to cut any further. A tree should ideally never have more than 25% cut from the branches. For this reason, it is best to keep on top of pruning so that it does not become a larger task next winter

Taking your time is important when pruning trees as you do not want to over cut the branches. Although pruning is a big job, completing the job too quickly may result is causing more problems rather than resolving the ones that you already have.

Cutting A Branch

Minimise Damage

Whether your tree is perfectly healthy or extremely weak, there are many ways in which you can minimise further damage. Pruning in the winter automatically reduces the risk of damaging the tree due to decreased stress. During the winter period, the trees sap (the sticky substance that seeps out of the tree) no longer leaks out of the branches and the cut that you make is less likely to get infected. It is relatively easy to gauge when the perfect time is to prune trees; this is usually just after all the leaves have fallen.

When pruning the tree, you want to try and allow the branches to grow back, so don’t cut the whole thing off. Take your tools and cut the branch several inches away from the trunk of the tree. By doing this, it will allow the tree branch to grow back healthier rather than completely changing the shape of the tree.

Once you have used the tools for pruning, make sure that you clean them correctly so that they are ready for your next project. Disinfecting the tools may be necessary if you have been dealing with a diseased tree. Using the same tools for diseased trees as well as healthy ones will cause cross-contamination. To disinfect your tools, you can rub alcohol across the blades to ensure that you do not damage the health of another tree. For more information on how to clean your pruning tools, take a look at David Domoney’s quick garden guide.
Disinfectant Spray

Time To Start Pruning

Now that you have read through our guide, you are ready to become the perfect pruner. Finding the balance between improving the health of a tree and not over pruning will make your tree look vibrant and strong. If you have pruned your tree and it still looks diseased or weak, or you simply do not trust yourself to use sharp equipment, then our professional team are happy to help. Contact Neal Landscaping for more information on landscaping in Buckingham and the surrounding areas.

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