FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Vicki Bendure, APR
E-mail: Vicki Bendure
Winter Is the Best Time to Prune Many Trees and Shrubs
Pruning Now Will Protect Landscape Year-Round
HERNDON, Va., February 10, 2012 — The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) wants you to know that winter is a great time to proactively care for your trees and shrubs, and help them get through extreme winter and adverse weather in the coming year.
When trees are not properly cared for and are allowed to deteriorate, they can become unstable and hazardous. Severe weather conditions (drought, flood, extreme heat, or cold) can take a toll on healthy, as well as ailing, trees and shrubs, and extreme temperature fluctuations can have a detrimental effect.
Because most trees and shrubs become dormant in winter months, particularly in cooler climates, winter is a good time to prune. For deciduous plants, winter is also advantageous because it's much easier to see where to prune. Homeowners who care for their landscapes throughout the year often report minimized damage when severe storms hit. This is attributed to the fact that well-cared for trees and shrubs are healthier, and they don't have dead branches that often break during storms and, in turn, break others, and even healthy branches, from the plant.
PLANET offers the following pruning tips to improve plant health:
Prepare garden tools. Before beginning any garden project, make sure you have all of the necessary equipment to complete the task. It is also important to make sure all the tools that will be used, such as pruning shears and saws, are sharp, free of rust, and in good working condition. Using dull pruning shears can result in plant damage.
Make clean pruning cuts. When pruning, it is important to make clean cuts on the plant's branches and avoid removing large amounts of healthy stem tissue. Improper cutting could lead to bark tearing and stem damage that could leave the plant susceptible to disease.
Remove dead/diseased branches. Removing branches that are diseased or infected by pests will improve the health of the plant and help promote growth. If these branches are not removed, it is possible for an infection to spread to other parts of the plant. Removing dead/diseased branches will also help to protect the plant in severe storms.
Prune branches for safety. Some low-hanging or damaged branches can cause injuries and/or property damage. Prevent potentially hazardous situations by removing branches that obstruct walkways or rest on personal property.
Hire a professional for large projects. Hiring a professional when branches are hard to reach or when larger trees are in need of pruning is the best way to ensure personal safety and prevent property damage when a lawn and landscape project becomes overwhelming. Green industry professionals are skilled in handling all sizes of lawn and landscaping services. Professionals are knowledgeable about all varieties of plants and have access to tools that are better equipped to handle large maintenance projects.
In addition to these tips, PLANET member Bruce Allentuck, president of Allentuck Landscaping Co., Clarksburg, Md., recommends doing a bit of homework before beginning a pruning project for the first time.
"Pruning plants at the wrong time of year could potentially sacrifice blooms," Allentuck cautions. "Every plant, shrub, or bush has different pruning requirements. If you are unsure about when and how to prune, you should consult a professional."
For more information or to find a lawn care or landscape professional in your area, visit LandcareNetwork.org/findaprofessional.
PLANET is the association of members who create and maintain the quality of life in communities across America. With approximately 3,800 member and affiliates, these firms and their employees represent more than 100,000 green industry professionals. Some of these professionals have taken the extra step of becoming certified through PLANET and bear the distinction of being known as Landscape Industry Certified.