Having a professional arborist tend to your Poughquag, NY trees on a regular basis is undeniably important, but knowing when to call them in can seem tricky. A quick consultation should tell you everything you need to know, but we’re setting out the basics of tree care timing here so you’ll have a better idea of what you’re stepping into when hiring a professional.
Most homeowners tend to associate the pruning of trees with warmer weather, but few know the added advantages of dormant pruning. Cutting back branches in colder weather, when the tree is dormant, allows the tree to grow with renewed purpose come spring. Fungus, bugs and bacteria tend to be less active in winter, allowing the safe removals of areas negatively affected by pests. Note that flowering trees are the exception to the dormant pruning rule. Trees that flower in mid- to late summer can be safely pruned in winter, but those blooming in spring should be pruned when their blossoms fade.
Pruning for Safety
Unpruned trees tend to build up ice and snow on their branches, causing them to bend, hang low and even snap off. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your older trees are less in need of proper winterization - they actually need the attention more than younger trees that have more supple branches. Well-trained arborists are able to locate and remove the weak-jointed branches that tend to cause a problem; a task made easier when the trees are bare in winter. The hard, iced-over ground and decrease in foliage to get in the way also makes it easier for arborists to move their equipment closer to the tree, saving time and money.
Fertilization and Watering
Your trees need all the nutrients they can get to see them through the winter, so proper fertilization is essential. You can opt to fertilize your trees well before the winter sets in, or instead use a slow-release fertilizer with minimal nitrogen during the winter months. Nitrogen encourages growth, which is undesirable when trees are dormant. Your trees are also still in need of regular watering in winter, despite the wet weather suggesting otherwise. Your arborist would be able to tell you if your trees require more watering or fertilization during the winter months, allowing for better care.
Detecting Dead Wood
The presence of dead wood in your tree seems to be a question best answered in summer, when ailing leaves give away the problem areas, but a certified arborist is able to detect dead wood without any accompanying foliage. Whether your check-up is scheduled in the winter months or you suspect your tree is in trouble, don’t hesitate having an arborist in to assess the situation. The damage caused by falling branches, especially under the strain of icy storms, is not worth the risk.
Off-season Discounts and Convenience
While some tasks are time-sensitive in order to prepare your trees for the harsh winter weather, others can be put off by a couple weeks or even months, such as taking down a dying tree. If this is the case, you’re better off leaving the task for the winter months, when arborists are least busy and tend to work at lower rates. Having your trees pruned in winter also offsets any inconvenience the noise of chainsaws and wood chippers would cause to your outdoor summer get-togethers, as well as protect flowering plants below the tree from harm caused by falling branches and debris.