When it comes to commercial landscaping services, you may not think of plant pruning. While lawn maintenance and hardscaping are often the first thought business owners have, there is much more to landscaping services than you think.
Earth Development helps Minnesota businesses keep their outdoor spaces looking great, and we aim to provide important information about landscaping right here on our site. In this piece, we’ll look at the benefits of pruning trees in winter and why you should prune plants.
What Is Dormant Pruning?
Okay, so let’s start with dormant pruning.
This refers to the maintenance and pruning of a tree while the tree is not growing – meaning it is done sometime in the fall or winter.
While pruning during the summer and spring months is typically not a problem, a plant can usually withstand much more extreme pruning when it isn’t growing. The benefit, then, is that you are able to change the entire shape of a tree or a bush, and remove entire sections of the plant that may be getting in the way of a walkway, entrance, or driveway.
Why Prune Plants?
There are several reasons why you may want to prune a tree, ranging from determining the shape of the plant to protecting its overall health.
Let’s take a look at some of the best dormant pruning benefits for your trees, plants, and shrubs.
Dormant Pruning Prevents Outgrowing
First of all, it helps you determine the shape of your plant – and as mentioned, it’s easy to ensure that plants and trees are not growing in the way of your pavements or walkways when you perform dormant pruning each year.
Dormant Pruning Stimulates Healthy Growth
Dormant pruning also helps you stimulate healthy growth in the branches you don’t prune. Instead of focusing energy and resources on dying branches or diseased parts of the tree, you can ensure that a tree is growing only its healthiest branches.
Dormant Pruning Prevents Diseases
Other benefits of dormant pruning include getting rid of diseased or dead branches that will only fall off later and potentially cause injury.
Pruning In Late Winter Is Easier
Pruning in the winter is also easier. Without leaves, the structure of the tree and its branches is clearer, making it easier to determine the perfect shape.
Fresh cuts on a tree also heal more quickly during the dormant season, meaning disease-carrying insects are less likely to cause problems for your trees.
Dormant Pruning Makes Your Property Safer
As mentioned, diseased branches are likely to fall off and could potentially harm pedestrians who use your walkways. The branches may also block entryways, exit signs, windows, and more.
Pruning ensures that trees are not obstructing your view and that your property is safe for everybody who enters.
Dormant Pruning Improves Air Circulation
Air circulation is important for plants, as it allows every branch and leaf to get as much sunlight as they need. When you thin out a plant during its dormant phase, you open up its canopy and allow that air to circulate and more light to reach the leaves. This also helps prevent insect damage and disease.
Pruning Enhances Beauty In Summer
When you’ve finished pruning in the winter, the leaves and buds will only grow where you left the healthy branches.
So while your plants and trees may not look their healthiest in the wintertime, they will look fantastic as soon as the summer arrives.
Pruning Increases Life Span Of Trees
Dormant pruning may also increase the longevity of your tree or shrub. It helps plants withstand the winter, including snow and ice. What’s more, with more light access thanks to a thinned canopy, your tree’s leaves will be able to capture more light and therefore live longer and more healthily.
Common Pruning Mistakes
There are some important considerations to remember to safely prune your trees, and these are some of the mistakes you should ensure you don’t make.
Not Pruning At All
The first thing to avoid is, obviously, not pruning your tree at all. It might seem as though a tree is healthy and fine, but pruning has so many benefits that you may later regret not doing it.
Snipping Too Much
Never remove more than a quarter of a plant in any season, as taking off too much of the plant will encourage sucker growth.
Take off roughly one quarter, then allow the tree to go and see how it looks – then, you may go from there.
Taking Off Only the Top
Taking off the top of a shrub is known as “topping.” It will result in a plant creating a strange-looking bunch of new shoots around the shrub which will usually look worse.
Remember to follow all the natural lines of your tree when pruning, and don’t just take off the top.
Leaving A Stub
Never leave a stub on a branch. Instead, prune right the way back to either a bud or a branch. An open-end encourages disease and could result in the tree being damaged by diseased insects.
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