The winter season brings with it the potential for inclement weather. Tree branches weighed down by ice, snow, and even rain may snap, break, and fall. Those falling branches could cause significant damage to your roof, windows, fence, and more. One crucial way to avoid costly damage is to trim the trees around your home. Below, you’ll find tips for trimming your trees yourself and when it may be time to call an expert. 

Why You Should Trim Your Trees (Especially in the Winter)

In general, trimming your trees is a solid home maintenance and safety routine to put into place. The benefits include:

  • Safety: Removing dead, broken, or diseased branches that could fall. 
  • Health: Promoting growth by giving healthy branches more room and nutrients to thrive. 
  • Appearance: Adding space between growth and shaping the tree for a more manicured and attractive look. 

Trimming your trees in the winter is often called dormant pruning. That is because trees stop growing in the winter, often lose their leaves, and go into a dormant state. There are several benefits to trimming your trees this time of year, including:

  • Your trees will be less stressed and less likely to lose sap. 
  • Open pruning wounds may attract pests and diseases that are more likely to be dormant in the winter. Plus, those wounds also have more time to heal before the tree starts growing again. 
  • It is easier to see where to cut branches without leaves blocking the views. 
  • It prepares trees for a healthy and robust spring growing season.
  • Broken and damaged tree branches are more likely to fall and cause damage during the winter when they are more brittle and snow, ice, and rain add weight.
  • It’s often easier and less intrusive to your yard to trim in winter rather than in spring and summer when gardens are in full bloom. 
  • Pruning branches can allow more sunlight to provide light and nourishment for grass and gardens. 

How Does Winter Pruning Saving Money?

Pruning trees in the winter is often more efficient because it is easier to see which branches need to be removed. So, if you are hiring someone, there may be immediate cost savings. Plus, you’ll get peace of mind and preventative savings knowing the tree branches that are most likely to cause damage have been removed. 

That’s because removing dead and damaged branches will prevent them from breaking and falling, where they can cause costly damage to your home, car, fences, or other property. Regular pruning also keeps the overall tree healthy, saving you from future, expensive tree removal services. 

Photo: MireXa via gettyimages.com

Trimming Tree Guidelines

Tools you can use to prune your trees include hand shears, loppers, pole pruners, hand saws, and chainsaws. Branches and limbs you want to remove include diseased, broken, or dead ones, downward growing branches, entangled or close-together branches, and limbs growing from the trunk area. 

A few tree trimming tips include:

  • It is best to remove new growth and branches that are less than 5 centimetres in diameter. 
  • You can test for dead limbs by seeing if pieces snap off easily. 
  • Start cutting underneath large branches to avoid damage to the bark. 
  • Cut close to the end of the branch, but don’t remove the branch collar where it attaches to the base.
  • When clearing branches from the tree’s base, do not cut beyond one-third of the tree’s height.
  • Avoid trimming new trees for the first few years. 
  • Remember that excessive removal of branches is not suitable for your trees. 

When to Call the Experts

Many homeowners can take care of basic tree trimming, especially for well-maintained trees. There are many reasons you may want to call a landscaper or tree specialist to do the work instead. They include:

  • Large dead, diseased, or crowded branches need to be removed.
  • You don’t have the equipment to remove the necessary branches.
  • The tree is too big and requires the removal of high branches.
  • Trees are near power lines or other hazards. 
  • You have various tree types, including fruit and flowering ones, and aren’t sure which ones are best to prune in the winter. 
  • There are signs of disease that should be diagnosed by a professional for the best next steps. 

Maintaining your trees by trimming them in the winter can save money in the short and long term. Keep your trees healthy, safe, and beautiful by following the tree trimming guidelines. If you have questions or concerns about doing the work yourself, calling an expert is the best plan!