Trees seem to hold their own in winter, suffering wind, snow and ice with unbending stoicism. While it may seem counterintuitive, however, there are many reasons to pay attention to your trees in the winter months.
Pruning during the dormant season, for example, can be good for certain types of trees and shrubs, allowing them to create energy reserves that will support new growth on the remaining branches come spring. Pruning is also easier at this time, because the outline of the branches is more clear, without leaves blocking the view.
Winter is also a good time to trim branches that are too close to the home, as debris from close branches can clog gutters. Branches can also rub against the house during storms, ruining shingles and siding and tearing electrical lines. Finally, branches near the home allow squirrels access to your home’s roof. Once there, the squirrels often burrow through the soffits, gaining access to the warmth of your attic, where they can cause costly damage, especially to electrical wiring.
If you decide to tackle a pruning project yourself, do so with care, and know your rights. (If the offending branch is from a neighbor’s tree, you are allowed to trim it up to the edge of your property line, according to Findlaw, a legal website. If you harm the tree in the process, however, “you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree.”)
The good news is that many tree-trimming companies offer discounts during winter months, and professionals will ensure that the health and well-being of your trees isn’t compromised, so you can enjoy their beauty once the weather warms.