Trees bring more than just clean air and a cool breeze to the world. Trees bring a place for the birds to nest, the squirrels to store, and the kids to climb. They also provide shade on a sunny day and beauty to the lives that continue on beneath them. If you love and care for the trees around your home, it’s time to start getting them ready for the cold weather that’s coming your way.
This is the perfect time of year to begin pruning. After the leaves have fallen to the ground, you can get a clear visual on where the pruning is most needed. Preparing your trees for the harsh winter conditions is important for both the health of the tree and the safety of your property.
When winter storms arrive, trees that are not structurally sound are at risk of severe damage. Broken and rotting limbs might not be able to hold the added weight of heavy snow and ice, not to mention the cold wind that whips through the branches. Fall is the time to prune away the dead limbs, cable, and brace your trees for all that winter has to offer.
Any successful tree care program begins with proper pruning. The first step is to look the tree over from top to trunk, searching for limbs that are:
Keep an eye out for branches that form narrow “V” crotches; these areas are weaker than those with wide-angle crotches. To remove these V branches, make a cut along the outside of the natural collar. You can find the collar by looking for ridges or wrinkles in the bark near the branch union. Do not cut flush with the trunk.
Sculpting and pruning is one part art, one part science. When removing the V crotch, you want to make sure that it won’t destroy the shape of the tree, as this can create quite the eyesore to your landscape. If pruning will compromise the beauty of the tree, a professional service can create a permanent installation with cables and hooks.
•Screw-eye hooks are placed into the bark at two-thirds the distance between the crotch and the top of the branch that needs support.
•A second hook is placed in the main trunk, and a supporting cable is stretched between the two hooks.
•The hooks become buried in the bark as the tree grows around them. This process is not harmful to the tree.
The seasons can change in the blink of an eye. A beautiful sunny day today can become the first major snowstorm tomorrow. Don’t take a chance that your trees will buckle under extreme conditions and damage your home, yard, or business. From pruning to bracing, a prepared tree is a protected tree. If you’re unsure how much help your trees need, it’s best to contact a professional to assist with maintenance.