Winter Pruning

Why to Prune Your Trees in the Winter

 

One question people are always asking me is;  “when is the best time to prune a tree?” or “ is it ok to prune the tree now?”    Although many people like to wait until the summer months to have their trees pruned,  studies have shown that late winter and early spring are actually a better time to prune.    Beginning in the fall and continuing into winter, trees shift to a dormant state. The trees growth  (including wound closure) slows significantly and does not begin again until the following spring. Research has shown that optimum wound closure is achieved by pruning  during the late winter and early spring, right before the flush growth of spring. Using this strategy, the wound left by pruning is able to begin closing as soon as the weather warms and is given the maximum amount of time to heal.    

Other reasons for winter pruning include disease control and storm preparation.   Warm weather brings with it destructive insects and fungal infections, problems which may be aggravated by pruning at the wrong time.  A certified arborist will be able to identify these issues and take the appropriate steps before they become a problem. Be proactive by pruning your tree ahead of time  before costly and unsightly damage occurs. Your investment in trees will pay dividends for years to come!

4 Great Winter Trees For Your Central OH Landscape

Winter Tree Choices

Winter doesn’t mean your Central OH landscape has to look boring.    There are many trees that will liven up your landscape and make an otherwise some interest to an otherwise boring time of year.

River Birch

River Birch
River birch has become a staple of landscapes around central ohio and for good reason.  The rapid growth and salmon colored papery bark stands out in an otherwise bare winter landscape.  River birch is a medium sized tree which can grow up to 50 ft tall and 40 ft wide given the right conditions.   One common mistake homeowners make is planting the tree too close to the house. It’s true a river birch will not grow as large as some trees, and can be planted closer than say, a red oak, but it is still wise to give it some space.

Red Twig Dogwood

Red Twig Dogwood
Although not really a tree,  red twig dogwood makes a great winter plant.  The unusual red colored bark can be very eye catching.  Red twig dogwood is a relatively pest free plant that will do well in central Ohio.  Yearly maintenance includes cutting back old stems to the base which allows the plant to grow new brightly colored stems.
Evergreen
Evergreen
Evergreens are always a solid choice for year-round interest. One of my favorites is the hemlock. The soft evergreen needles and graceful form are a welcome addition to most landscapes.  There are some major pests to be aware of when it comes to hemlock. These include: elongate hemlock scale and hemlock wooly adelgid.  Take a close look at the needles, including the underside.  Although these pests can be pretty devastating, they can be controlled with insecticides.  Evergreens can also make a great windbreak to shield your home from bitter cold winds.   Arborvitae,  hemlock,  spruce, and pine trees can all serve as effective barriers whether for privacy or protection.  However, be sure to choose your planting site carefully.  Although evergreens will provide great protection from the winter winds, they will also block the sunlight that would otherwise warm your house.

Paperbark Maple

Paperbark Maple
This small, slow growing tree has bark that peels off in sheets revealing  new cinnamon colored bark underneath. It makes a great specimen tree and will do well in areas where space is limited. The tree needs acidic soil and will not tolerate drought conditions so make sure you choose your planting site carefully.