Winter is all but upon us here in Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver, Washington. Although the cold weather months may slow the growing process, there is still a long list of winter landscaping projects that should be tackled. At the top of that list is the pruning of trees, shrubs, and bushes. Pruning these plants in winter yields beautiful results come springtime.
There are several reasons to perform pruning on your trees, bushes, and shrubs. One of the most important reasons to consider pruning, especially larger trees, is for safety reasons. Large trees, obviously, grow large branches. When those branches become old and brittle they often break and fall to the ground. Large overhead branches like this pose a real risk of injuring people, pets, and property. This becomes even more of a threat during the cold and stormy months of winter.
Another reason to consider pruning is that it offers you the ability to influence the growth of these plants. Often you can shape a tree or bush to your liking. Pruning away diseased or damaged branches benefits the structural integrity of these plants as well. You can also prune away branches to keep them from making contact with structures or powerlines.
Most trees, shrubs, and bushes can be pruned anytime throughout the year, but winter is the ideal time to do so. During the colder months of winter, most plants enter a dormant stage where growth dramatically slows. During the growing months of spring and summer, pruning can shock some plants and cause adverse effects. Performing pruning in winter, while plants are dormant, eliminates the risk of harming the plant as it tries to form new growth. When pruning is performed correctly during winter, it encourages plants to flourish during the spring months, ensuring healthy growth.
Pruning trees, bushes, and shrubs require knowledge and expertise, though there are some general guidelines that everyone should follow when performing this task. Having a plan of action, (i.e. what the goal of pruning is) is important; do not just simply start cutting away branches, without having a clear goal for the plant’s health and appearance. Diseased or dead portions of the plant should be cut away first; these portions are the easiest to spot and starting with these will make it easier to shape the plant. Overgrown portions should be tackled next; suckers the sprout off of the base or from other branches can be removed to allow more light and air to reach the bulk of the plant. It is incredibly important to be aware of powerlines and structures when cutting away branches, especially large branches from big trees. When the pruning process is performed by professionals there is less risk to the health of the plant as well as to the safety of people and property. It is a particularly good idea to consider hiring a landscape professional for large pruning jobs.