The months of April to December are usually the busiest months for the tree care industry but winter is a great time to do certain types of tree work. As arborists we really enjoy working in the winter. The snow is beautiful and our chainsaw pants provide a nice insulation in the cold weather!
Types of Tree Work Ideal for Winter
When the ground is frozen there is less impact on lawns and gardens surrounding trees that need to be removed. Trees that are dead or dying are great candidates for winter removal so that they don’t become a hazard in the spring. If you are considering removing a tree in your yard, winter might be the best time to get it done.
Forestry work such as plantation thinning and trail clearing are ideal for winter. When the ground is frozen there is less risk of damaging the forest floor. If logs are being pulled out of the bush with machinery, the frozen ground prevents ruts Work done in the winter can also ensure that wildlife like birds and small mammals will not be disturbed during the nesting season.
Most trees can benefit from light pruning done during the dormant season. Dormant pruning helps the tree focus its energy effectively come spring. Winter pruning should be done after the coldest days have passed and things are beginning to warm up again. Species like Maple, Walnuts and Birches, may bleed from pruning cuts when the weather warms and sap begins to flow. This is not usually harmful and will stop once the tree puts leaves out.
If a tree has shown signs of stress or disease or was not vigorous in its growth during the previous growing season, it might be better to wait until the tree is just about to leaf out to do any major pruning. Sometimes, even though the tree is stressed you may want to prune it in the winter anyway if there is a risk of the tree being damaged in severe weather due to structural issues or previous storm damage.
Access Through Snow
When snow is covering the ground we use sleds help us move wood around easily. In some situations we will ask clients to clear us a path to the tree if there has been a large amount of snow. Certain jobs are more appropriate for winter tree work than others. Yards with steep hills can be difficult to work in when there is snow and ice on the ground. In that case we wait until the dryer months.
Winter Storm Damage – Prevention & Restoration
Trees that have poor structure or have been previously damaged in storms require pruning to lower the risk of failure during extreme winter weather. During the winter months, it is easier to see the structure of the tree and to prune the tree appropriately. Preventative maintenance can lower the chance of failure during severe weather. It’s never too early to start taking care of your trees.
Check out our blog article on preventative maintenance
We always say that pruning a tree before a storm damages it is the most effective way to prevent failure but if severe weather causes a branch to fail or leaves hanging branches in the crown, it is best to deal with it immediately to avoid further damage or risk of injury from falling debris.
Please contact us today to discuss your tree removal considerations and needs.