Guest Column: Dormant pruning important for trees

Kent Weeklies
Removal of dead, dying, or diseased branches of woody plants promotes health and improves safety.

Removal of dead, dying, or diseased branches of woody plants promotes health and improves safety. Our urban trees especially benefit from periodic pruning to improve a tree’s form and appearance and to fix any conflicts with infrastructure. Pruning of shrubs is also important to maintain a neat appearance, to control size, and to promote shrub health.

Did you know that the winter and early spring is widely considered the best time to prune? This is when trees and shrubs in our part of the country are dormant. The plants are not actively producing sugars and vigorous growth like they do in the spring and summer.

Here are some reasons why the dormant season is a good time for pruning:

  • There is no interruption to the tree’s growth, so it is less stressful on the tree.
  • Sap loss is minimized.
  • There is increased visibility to branches when the leaves have fallen off.
  • It is not as convenient to prune in the summer when people are enjoying their yards.
  • There is less potential to damage the yard when the ground is frozen.
  • Dormant pruning reduces the spread of fungal diseases and is less likely to attract insects that carry diseases.
  • Limbs are lighter and easier to handle for tree professionals in the winter.

Please remember to consult a certified arborist to safely prune trees on your property. Also remember that in accordance with city ordinances, residents are not to prune trees within the Stow Tree District which includes along the public rights of way of the city. The City of Stow has certified arborists on staff should you have any questions.

Kaley Donovan is a member of the Stow Urban Forestry Commission. She works for Davey Resource Group, Inc. as an environmental consultant and is a Certified Arborist. Her favorite tree is an eastern white pine, and she enjoys living in a community that values trees. One of her favorite places in Stow is Adell Durbin Park.