It is at this time of year, when all the leaves have fallen from the canopies of deciduous trees that you can really see the true shape and habit of your deciduous trees. These clearer views makes it a great time to prune your deciduous trees. It is also a good time to prune many evergreen trees and shrubs such as Conifers, Olives and Citrus (if finished fruiting) and Camellias (when they have finished flowering). If any of the trees or shrubs are spring flowering then you will need to know if they flower on new wood (this is the growth that will appear in the coming spring) or old wood (this is the growth from the previous year). If they flower on new wood, then you can prune in Winter. If they flower on old wood, then they should be left until they finish flowering. Winter Dormancy is almost like the hibernation period that many animals go through for winter. This dormancy that deciduous trees go through, commences with the loss of their leaves. The tree’s metabolism, energy consumption and growth will completely slow down in the cooler months.
It is an ideal time to prune your trees for a number of reasons; Pruning the tree through winter will cause less stress to the tree and the tree will recover more quickly from any pruning wounds when the warmer weather arrives in spring. As soon as the tree’s metabolism starts to pick up, the tree will start producing new wood to callous over the pruning wounds.
Without the leaves you can easily see the overall structure of the tree – so you can clearly see which branches are crossing over each other or the ones that might be damaged or diseased.
It is less likely that the pruning wounds will become infected or diseases as the cooler temperatures means there is less activity with any pathogens or insects. It is also good to try and do the prune on a mild dry day not in rain as pruning in dry conditions will help prevent the spread of any waterborne diseases.
You will see the positive results of your pruning quite quickly as spring is only around the corner.
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