With our current fluctuating temperatures we know yard work might not be at the top of your priority list, but winter can actually be the ideal time to get out there and prune your trees. Not only is it the easiest time to see the shape and structure of your trees without their leaves, it is also the best time to take advantage of spring growth! If you’re wondering how to approach tree trimming, here’s what you need to know to get started:
Figure out the “WHY?”
The most common reason to prune your trees is to support their shape and structure and to encourage new growth. You also want to remove any damaged limbs from the tree that could prevent regrowth or damage the tree’s health (look for fungus or signs of disease). Pruning a large, thick branch can also be beneficial to other plants in the area by giving them access to more sunlight, but obviously use your discretion!
One, two, how do you do?
As you’re walking about your property, give your trees a good assessment. Find any dead branches that look like they need to be removed (HINT! Dead branches will be dry, brittle and a different colour than the rest!) You will also want to remove any branches that could be hazardous to pedestrians, your house or any nearby power lines. Once you have given them the ol’ up and down, take a step back and figure out the ideal shape for the space your tree is in.
Let the pruning begin!
If you can, start in the middle and remove any branches that are growing in toward the tree. Branches should ideally grow out from the centre. Thin out any sections that are too thick with branches, but be sure to step back regularly and look at your progress to make sure you aren’t pruning too much. To keep your tree healthy, prune as little as possible (no more than 25% of the tree).
Happy pruning Toronto!