For many Michigan homeowners, the last thing on their mind in the winter is doing any type of landscape maintenance. However, there are several valid reasons to schedule your tree trimming for the winter; and in some instances it is the preferred time of the year to prune certain trees.

1) If you need oak trees or elm trees pruned then you should definitely consider having this work done during the dormant season. Beetles spread two deadly diseases to oak trees and elm trees in Michigan – oak wilt and Dutch elm disease. The beetles that spread oak wilt and Dutch elm disease are hibernating during the colder months and therefore can’t spread these diseases to your trees. By the time the beetles become active in the spring the wounds created by dormant pruning will not attract beetles to the tree. Also, crabapple trees or flowering pear trees infected with fireblight can be pruned in the dormant season to minimize the chance of further infection.

2) Pruning during the winter months means less disruption to your other landscape plantings – especially annual flowers you might plant in the spring or your perennials, like hosta plants.

3) After a tree has shed its leaves a tree pruning arborist has a better view of the structure of the tree and can prune your tree accordingly. It is much quicker and easier for the tree pruning arborist to see crossing branches, splits in branches or branch unions, and broken branches when they are not obstructed by leaves.


How does a tree trimming arborist know if a branch is alive when it doesn’t have any leaves on it?
When pruning during the dormant season our arborists looks for healthy leaf buds. The buds for next seasons’ growth are produced during the summer months, so their presence is an indication that the branch is alive. Also, on some tree species, the bark of dead or dying branches takes on a different color than live branches.

Trimming in late winter made my trees bleed. Doesn’t this hurt the tree?
Some tree species (especially maple trees) will “bleed” if they are pruned in the late winter or early spring. This is sap coming from the fresh pruning wound and the amount of sap that comes out is not detrimental to the health of the tree. If sap loss was detrimental to tree health then it would not be possible to tap the same sugar maples year after year to make maple syrup.

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