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Is Fall and Winter a Good Time to Trim (or Remove) a Tree?


The cons of trimming a tree in the fall or winter include not being able to visually identify dead vs. live growth. This can be especially disorienting to you, our customer. However, properly trained tree trimmers recognize live growth even when trees are bare by gauging the flexibility of branches and assessing growth marks on the bark.  Also,  different tree species are trimmed according to accepted best practices.  Frequently a proper trim requires strategic removal of live growth as well dead.

We always take into consideration that a wintering tree is living off of stored energy reserves. So any wood taken out may effect the overall reserves of the tree.  By knowing the internal, systemic processes of the tree we can prune it without hurting the energy production mechanism.

So why is it better to prune a tree when it's dormant? A dormant tree has less chance of spreading airborne fungi or other tree disease.  For example, crabapple trees must be trimmed after all the leaves fall or you risk spreading fireblight to other branches or trees.  Trees may also experience less of a shock to the system. In summer we recommend combining a trim with a fertilization treatment to minimize temporary loss of leaves. This is not a factor in winter.

Tree trimming in winter also eliminates any temporary loss of shade and lush foliage. You may not realize, especially with your first arborist-led tree trim, how much wood may have to be taken out of a tree,  especially if its been neglected.  Since trees are already bare in winter, a trim is less noticeable so by the time summer rolls around, the tree will have had time to grow into its new trim.

There is also the seasonal psychology. We know the best time to buy winter clothes is at the end of the winter season when stores are clearing out their stock. Yet, most of the time are attention is already on the coming summer.  It' similar with trees; we just don't think about them in the winter even if we should. Maybe this article will change your mind?

Call us today at 602-285-0285 to have our arborist consult with you on your needs.
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Jomar Tree Service • P.O. Box 4803 • Cave Creek, AZ • 85327 – serving the Phoenix metro area – 602-285-0285