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  #1  
Old 01-14-2009, 07:48 PM
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tree pruning companies running ads now

3 local tree outfits are currently running radio ads here. All 3 say this is the best time to prune trees cuz their large equipment will not damage properties due to frozen ground. (we expect wind chills as low as -45 degrees this week). I figure these outfits have a good point. How 'bout your opinnion??

Are making pruning cuts the best for the plants right now? (we're talkin' ALL trees -- deciduous & evergreens).

Thanks, rscvp (Des Moines, IA)
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:21 PM
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No time is perfect for every tree (deciduous & evergreens). Depending on flowers and other factors such as bleeding. I would agree with the fact that their large equip wont hurt the landscape but it can kill the grass, if driven on while the turf is frozen. But thats a small price to pay.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:26 PM
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An old-timer once said, "Anytime the saw is sharp." They also painted wounds and filled cavities, so take that for what it's worth. Dormant season is fine with exceptions; removing branches from flowering trees will in turn remove a number of flowers. Ornamentals prone to water sprouts will be encouraged to do so in a big way, these are usually flowering trees so that can be two strikes.

Removing branches in winter can discourage attacks from certain insects, pines and spruces in the north east are targets for pitch mass borers, the female seeks a fresh wound to deposit her eggs. Pruning in the off season discourages these types of attacks. So on...the answer is host-specific, everything you read about being able to see branch structure and traversing frozen ground is true. And face it, it's a time of the year when we all could use the extra work.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:33 PM
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This is good information. Can you guys get more specific about certain kinds of trees and plants when it comes to pruning? I am primarily interested in rhodos and some smaller flowering trees we have here is southwestern PA. Thanks for your help guys - I figured where better to go for this kind of information!
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:48 AM
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The text-book time to prune flowering plants is to get in right after the flower has passed. The plant will begin to set for the following season several weeks after and although the pruning cuts after set generally don't cause long term harm, you remove any flower for the upcoming season. In the case of many ornamentals, especially rhododendron, it's a big part of why they were put in in the first place. Speaking of rhododendron, you'll notice two distinct types of buds. The smaller which tends to be more slender and pointed at the tip is vegetative. Flower buds are much larger and rounded. Knowing the difference can make all the difference.

Ornamental trees follow the same timing for the most part. Prune after the flowering period is over. Beware in the case of fruit bearing trees, flowers equal fruit. A client here was wondering why his apples were barren last year. He'd contracted a low-cost winter pruning job for his small orchard and the low-cost contractor removed all the viable bearing-wood.

With today's bounty of web-info you can generally find one site or another with great information on timing and technique for specific species. Go out and get the best pair of pruners your budget will handle and have-at-it.
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Old 01-30-2009, 11:08 AM
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One other concideration that has not been mentioned yet is sap flow. This is especially true with Maples and birch. These trees, when pruned in the late winter can at time "Bleed" quite extensivly. Research has been done on the "Bleeding" and has been found that it dosnt really hurt the tree. It, on the other hand, is very unsightly and the consumer still believes that it hurts the tree. I like pruning my maples and birches mid to late fall before the leaves turn or early to mid winter before the tree is thinking about top growth and the sap is staying in the root system.

Also with birches inparticular, when thier sap flows a fungus will grow on the sap. And if anyone has seen this fungus it is nasty. I have a pic of a similar fungus on Dogwood I will try to locate and post it.

Oaks are another ball of wax. You really need to CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, your tools. We had a case of Oak Wilt (i think) on a scarlet oak. The tree was strugling but it was dealing with it. Every year we went back and pruned the dead wood out for a 2 or 3 years. Last spring the pruning was done (wrong time) and it was not convayed to the crew, that the tree was sick. The dead wooding went well 10+/- 3-4 inch cuts and many 3 inch minus cuts. We didnt realize what happened until 2-3 weeks later. 3/4 of the tree browned out and died (that quick). We wound up taking the tree down 3-4 weeks later.
Anyone have any insite on oak pruning timing. Ive heard too many different things to form an opinion.
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