Winter Tree Care Solutions for Seattle Trees

Seattle tree care experts explain the benefits of winter tree pruning

Winter is an excellent time to prune dead and hazardous branches out of trees. Why? It’s easier to spot potential hazards such as cracks, defects and deadwood in leafless trees, and apply corrective pruning when necessary.  

The Best Time to Identify Tree Issues

“Many trees can be safely and properly pruned all year,” says Patrick Boyle, ISA Certified Arborist and Seattle Tree Care project manager. “But a tree care tip some people don’t know is that winter is a great time to do specific pruning, especially on dormant trees.”

Some homeowners worry that arborists will not be able to identify deadwood on a leafless tree. “It’s actually the opposite” says Patrick. “We can easily find deadwood with clues like a change in branch color, fungus growth, and cracks. Without the leaves, trees in the winter show off their architecture. A tree care expert can do a thorough check and make sure your tree is safe.” 

The Right Approach to Pruning

Pruning is much more than the simple act of sawing off limbs. Proper tree pruning and trimming is an art based on scientific principles of plant physiology. At its most basic level, pruning and trimming trees involves removing damaged, dead or structurally weak limbs, which will improve a tree’s health and reduce the chances of personal or property damage caused by falling limbs. More advanced pruning methods aid in improving the tree’s structure and long-term health.

Proper pruning encourages growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health, and removes damaged limbs, which prepares your tree to put its best leaf forward come springtime. 

Pruning at the right time and in the right way is critical, since it is possible to kill a tree by neglect or over-pruning. Pruning at the wrong time can be damaging to tree tissues. Calling in a professional tree care company is the best way to determine the optimal time to prune your trees. 

A National Standard for Care

“We prune to the American National Standards Institute standard for tree pruning,” says Patrick. This is what’s known in the professional arborist world as “ANSI A300.”

This standard recommends, and in some cases requires, the use of certain tools, cutting techniques, and trimming and pruning methods. ANSI A300 sets the standard definitions for terms the arborist will use while performing tree care. All Seattle Tree Care pruning estimates list the ANSI A300 standards, and our professional arborists use these standards in all their pruning practices.

Arborists adhering to the ANSI A300 pruning standard will not: 

  • Leave branch stubs 
  • Make unnecessary heading cuts 
  • Cut off the branch collar (not make a flush cut) 
  • Top or “lion’s tail” trees (stripping a branch from the inside leaving foliage just at the ends)
  • Remove more than 25% of the foliage of a single branch
  • Remove more than 25% of the total tree foliage in a single year 
  • Damage other parts of the tree during pruning 
  • Use wound paint 
  • Prune without a good reason
  • Climb the tree with climbing spikes

Always find a professional tree care company

A professional arborist can carefully assess your trees and work with you to determine the best and safest course of action for any work that needs to be done. 

About Seattle Tree Care

For the past fifteen years, Seattle Tree Care has been passionately caring for Seattle’s urban canopy. Their combined experience and skills make them the premier tree care company in the Seattle area. Call 206-789-0534 for free estimates.

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