February is for Pruning Part 1
February is a great month to prune your trees, especially most fruit trees. For sure, the weather is cold in most states this month but it is the time when most trees are dormant.
And without leaves on deciduous trees, it’s the best time to view their shape prior to trimming. Research shows that the time just before spring starts is the best time for closing wounds on branches from cutting.
First of all, get your pruning tool blades and saws sharpened before use at least once a year; now’s a good time of the year. There’s nothing worse than laboring to use blunt secateurs as pruning your trees will take twice as long. You may also leave a ragged edge on the living branch which is an invitation for infection and decay. And you don’t want that.
Once honed to a fine edge, make sure keep them in good condition by cleaning and oiling your tools and after use. This will keep rust at bay and lengthen their life.
Pruning trees, your safety is paramount.
1. No Ladders! Don’t use ladders as falling branches have been known to whip away the steps from under you. This could leave you dangling many feet above the ground, at best.
2. Maximum height of tree for self-pruning. The maximum height of the tree you can prune yourself without using a ladder is about 30 feet. Nowadays, pole saws extend up to a manageable length of around 21 feet. Your height is an average of just under 6 feet. To this, add your arms’ reach of another two or three feet. Then add the 21 feet pole pruner and you have a maximum effective working height of, say, 30 feet. Any tree which is higher than this will require a scissor lift or climbing gear and trained expertise of working at elevation. A ladder is just too dangerous especially if it is not secured at the top and at its base.
3. Check what trees you have – Before you start identify your tree species and then check some of the top YouTube videos on “How to prune your tree” specific to your tree species. For example, with citrus trees, you should prune them after the last average day of frost in your county i.e. after the risk of damage by frost has passed but before the tree blossoms. In this way, fruit loss from frost-bite can be minimized. Trimming citrus now means the new growth can ‘harden up’ before the summer’s high temperatures arrive.
See Part 2 of this article by clicking here for 6 tips for pruning your trees.
Call Tree Top Pros for any tree care issue you may have.
Kindly Note: The accuracy of this calendar and timings shared within it cannot be guaranteed. States in the USA are at different latitudes, longitudes and have varying elevations. This makes the general advice we give hard to fit all states the same. Compounding these differences are the type of tree species that vary between states. Furthermore, each state has its own weather patterns and levels of rainfall. All this calendar can do is broadly summarize best practice care for your trees. We therefore suggest that you consult your local arborist for more specific insights and advice relevant for your particular location.