Removing dead wood, or pruning, can be done all year round. Although it’s cold and the leaves have fallen, winter time is actually the best time to prune trees and bushes in the yard of your country home.
In the winter, plants are dormant which makes pruning a lot easier since decay, defects, broken limbs and the overall structure of the tree is more visible. However, looking for deadwood is more challenging than in the summer months. To decide if a limb is dead, look at the ends of the branch for prominent buds. Buds will vary in size, shape and color depending on the species of tree, but If there are no buds then there is not enough sugar or energy to leaf out the next season and the branch won’t make it.
Pruning while plants don’t have foliage promotes faster growth in the spring. The types of trees or bushes to benefit the most from winter pruning include bushes like Hydrangeas, Abelia, Camellias and Mallow, and trees like Poplar, Spruce, Junipers, Sumacs, Cherries, Apples, Peaches and Plums. These are general guidelines, but consult with a local arborist in your area to get more educated on the trees in your region and when to care for them.
When the right time comes, here are some tips on pruning in late winter:
- Prune out dead and diseased branches first.
- Make sure you prune when it is dry to help prevent disease.
- Remove or cut back any branches that have grown over where you walk or mow. Remember that when they leaf out they will be heavier and hang lower.
- Remove any overgrown or crossing branches to increase light exposure and reduce girdling.
- Keep any branches that maintain the overall structure of the tree or bush.
- Don’t scalp your trees. Cut to the natural shape to let it grow freely.
- Don’t leave the stub. Insects and disease love stubs and will quickly invade when they have the opportunity. Cut on the collar where it can seal over properly in the future.
Most of the time pruning is a fairly simple process, but without the right tools or knowledge it’s best to call a professional. Especially if your tree is near a power line or if there are heavy limbs. Either way, proper care will keep your landscape healthy and vibrant come spring.
If you’re looking to buy your own home in the country, or sell your country home, United Country Real Estate has decades of experience working with buyers and sellers just like you. Call 800-999-1020 for more information or to find an agent near you.