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Although your trees temporarily stop growing in winter, you should continue tree maintenance and monitoring to ensure your trees are healthy all year long.

How and Why You Can Keep Your Trees in Shape This Dormant Season

January 29, 2015

Wondering what you can do for your trees this winter?

It’s no matter whether sleet, snow or sunshine is glistening in the sky: your trees need your attention all year long.

The dormant season occurs in winter. It’s when temperatures drop and daylight decreases—which stops your trees from growing temporarily. But just because your trees stop growing doesn’t mean all plant health care should wait until spring.

You can continue tree services in winter. Read below for winter tree care questions Tom Bowman, district manager of Davey’s Columbus tree services, answered on air over the WBEX radio news station.

WBEX: A lot of folks during the fall start pruning their bushes and trees. Is it too late to take care of that right now?

  • TB: Absolutely not; we have been doing dormant pruning for a number of years all the way through the winter months. It is very beneficial for the sanitization of the ground or canopy of the tree.

WBEX: So, you have to give some thought to this depending on the shape or health of the tree?

  • TB: The most important thing is the personnel that you have on board. Davey has several certified arborists. It is important to detect what is dead in the tree, the type of tree, the natural shape or what we call morphology of the tree, what it looks like and what it should look like. Those are certainly important factors

WBEX: Is there a certain spot you need to focus on when you trim a tree?

  • TB: Really, each individual tree is going to dictate the needs. If you have decline in the top of the tree, focus on that part. If you have large, hazardous dead wood, you should focus on that. We really look at each situation, which dictates what we need to do to take care of the tree. Accessibility is very important and it’s very nice when you have frozen ground and specialized equipment to access it. That way, you can minimize any kind of damage you are doing to lawns or other landscaping.

WBEX: Is pruning a tree something you should do every year or can you go five years or a little bit longer?

  • TB: Typically, the pruning cycle depends on the type of tree, whether it’s ornamental or what we call a “shade tree,” or slower growing tree. Typically, 3 to 5 years might be the cycle but that all depends on the size or health of the tree. If the tree receives proper maintenance that will help dictate how often you need to prune.

WBEX: Maple trees are very prevalent across Ohio, especially on the side of the river here. Are there other trees that we need to be concerned about and keep an eye on if we have them in our backyards?

  • TB:  One of the trees that has been in the forefront in the last few years has been the ash tree. That’s because we have the emerald ash borer, which has been a very destructive pest that has killed a lot of ash trees. Keeping an eye on the health of that particular tree is important because you don’t want to let it get to the point of a hazardous situation in which you can’t access the tree. As for ornamental trees, it’s very important to thin out crabapples or hawthorns because they are susceptible to several types of diseases—keeping that air circulated through the canopy is important once leaves are on the tree. So, it’s good to see the structure of the tree without the leaves.

For more information about dormant pruning during the winter months, listen to the full interview with Bowman.

If your tree needs dormant pruning, Contact your local Davey professionally trained arborist for a free consultation.

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