As winter sets in, let’s discuss how preventive pruning can protect our precious trees. You see, when it comes to landscaping, there are a few things to consider. Last week, we talked about the dangers of falling branches, trees, and power lines. Today, we’ll explore another way to keep your trees happy and healthy.

To strengthen your trees, start with a technique called “preventative pruning.” Read on to learn more about this practice.

What is Preventive Pruning?

In a nutshell, preventive pruning involves strategically and specifically removing branches or parts of a tree before they can become a problem. Reactive pruning, is what people tend to think of when they consider taking sheers to their trees and bushes. Basically, reactive pruning is done to tackle issues as they occur. On the other hand, preventive pruning aims to anticipate potential issues and eliminate them in advance.

During winter and beyond, keeping ahead of possible issues is crucial for promoting the overall health and stability of your trees.

The Benefits of Preventive Pruning

Keep Your Trees Standing Strong

One of the primary benefits of preventive pruning is strengthening your tree’s structural integrity. By selectively removing weak or poorly attached branches, the overall weight distribution of the tree is improved. This reduces the risk of branches breaking under the weight of snow or ice during winter storms. Basically, it helps to keep a tree’s core intact. In turn, this also protects any nearby property, ensuring that the branches are less likely to fall on your home or pool cover.


Beyond the practical benefits, preventive pruning also helps improve your tree’s natural beauty. It shapes and improves the visual appeal of your yard.

Preventing Tree Diseases

Pruning can also help to prevent the spread of diseases and infections within a tree. During colder months, it is much more likely that your tree can become “sick.” Removing infected or dead branches can stop the disease from spreading. This not only protects the affected tree’s health, but it also helps prevents the potential for disease transmission to nearby trees. Additionally, preventive pruning helps for sunlight to reach the inner branches of a tree. This keeps the tree healthier and stronger.

Best Practices for Winter Preventive Pruning

Prune During Dormancy

Winter is an ideal time for preventive pruning as many trees are in a state of “dormancy.” Put simply, this means that the tree is not actively growing during this time. This reduces stress on the tree and allows for a quicker recovery from pruning. That said, there is such a thing as too much cold! To minimize potential damage to your trees, be sure to avoid pruning during freezing weather.

Choosing Branches For Removal

Above all, the goal is to keep the tree healthy. To start, focus on selectively removing weak, dead, or diseased branches. In particular, pay attention to branches with narrow crotch angles. These are more prone to splitting under the weight of snow or ice. Next, remove any branches that you notice crossing or rubbing against each other. Over time, these may create wounds that may serve as entry points for some of those tree diseases we mentioned.

Pruned branches

Don’t Be Afraid to Find Professional Help

Of course, sometimes, it may be smarter and safer to leave this job to the pros. For large or mature trees, or those with complex pruning needs, consider seeking the expertise of professional arborists. They have the knowledge and tools to execute precise pruning techniques without compromising the tree’s health.

Using these proactive approaches to tree health, we can keep our trees gorgeous and strong for years to come. Good luck and happy pruning!