Pruning Trees in the Winter

It is easier to assess and prune deciduous trees in winter, when they are leafless.

Step 1: Look for Awkward Stems

Pruning in Winter

Pruning in Winter

When leaves of a deciduous tree have fallen, take a look at its overall shape. Look for stems that are badly placed, or those growing too far down the trunk.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

When the leaves of a deciduous tree have fallen, take a look at its overall shape. Look for stems that are badly placed, or those growing too far down the trunk. This tree has an awkward stem growing from the base that must be removed. First, remove any dead and damaged wood. Then use a pruning saw to make a straight cut through any branches growing from the base of the tree.

Step 2: Thin Stems

Thin Stems

Thin Stems

Prune thin stems with loppers or pruners, taking them back to a half inch from the ring of slight swelling where the stem and trunk meet. This is known as the branch collar.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Prune thin stems with loppers or pruners, taking them back to 1⁄2 in (2 cm) from the ring of slight swelling where the stem and trunk meet, known as the branch collar.

Step 3: Cut Thick Branches

Thick Cut Branches

Thick Cut Branches

Thick branches, and those likely to tear are cut in stages. First, cut under the stem a short distance from the trunk. Cut about a quarter of the way through the underside of the branch.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Thick branches, and those that are likely to tear, are cut in stages. First, cut under the stem, a short distance from the trunk. Cut about a quarter of the way through the underside of the branch.

Step 4: Make a Second Cut

Second Cut

Second Cut

When pruning in winter, make a second cut above the lower one, and aim to join the two. Be sure your tools are sharp to prevent snagging.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Make a second cut above the lower one, and aim to join the two. Be sure your tools are sharp to prevent snagging.

Step 5: Branches May Snap

Broken Branches

Broken Branches

When pruning, a heavy branch may still snap off, but it doesn't matter at this point since this is not the final cut.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Even if you have taken great care, a heavy branch may still snap off, but it doesn’t matter at this point, since this is not the final cut. Don’t worry if the cut snags as it falls away.

Step 6: Remove Stub

Remove Stub

Remove Stub

When pruning in winter, remove stubs by cutting up from the bottom, then down from the top. Stay just slightly away from trunk.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Remove the stub by using the technique outlined in steps 3 and 4. Make your final cut just slightly away from the branch collar.