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Pruning in the cold?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grshppr, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    We generally start our pruning in the beginning to middle of March, but this year, there is absolutely no snow on the ground. I'm tempted to start pruning. It is still cold at night. It gets to -8 degrees celcius. During the day it gets up to 4 degrees celcius. (sorry I don't know the formula to convert that to fairenheit) We prune apple/peach/pear/plum etc. I know apple is fine to prune now, but what about the other varieties, will it hurt to prune them now? Thanks for the input guys.
  2. JeffY

    JeffY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    From what I know, it's usually not recommended to prune in this weather. The tree is dormant at this time and will have a hard time healing over the new cut since the sap is frozen/cold. I would wait till it's a bit warmer to allow the cut to heal and prevent diseases from infecting it.
  3. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Nope. Just remember all good things come to those who wait.
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Winter pruning is ideal. Sure there are wounds that don't heal quickly, but then there are no diseases or insects active to enter thru these fresh wounds. Only real concern is maple pruning in winter; HEAVY SPRING sap flow on maples will make tree look bad, and they will lose a lot of energy from that lost sap.

    Winter is the best time to do structural pruning of deciduous woody plants. With leaves gone, you can easily view plant structure. Even evergreen pruning is good now in my area. Yews are just setting new buds when winter temps move up into low 40s in daytime; by pruning now, energy of setting buds in areas to be cut off is not wasted, and new buds will get more growth just below new cuts.

    Only problem with heavy winter pruning on spring flowering ornamentals is the loss of flowers this spring.
  5. Phishook

    Phishook LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,143

    what groundskpr said.
    I've never pruned fruit tree's, why are there so many up there?
  6. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Messages: 270

    .......concur. Get a copy of the American Horticultral Society of woody ornamental. Perhaps the best book ever on info regarding species and varites, which contains pruning guidence too.

    Never prune anything that blooms, prior to that event. with regards..... devildog
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Ahh, but devildog, it just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If I got a new property today, Feb 13, where the ornamentals had just been sheared for years, I would not hesitate to dive in today and hack away at the mess. The few flowers lost would be a small compromise for better looking and healthier plants in the immediate future.

    In the places spring flower buds are removed, I'm just channeling energy saved from the flowering into regrowth of the plant. To wait until after spring flowering to start on shrubs means you've lost a good part of the year's growth, and it will take longer to achieve your final result.

    All that if client can skip a few flowers one year, LOL.
  8. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Jim and Devildog got it right. Now is the best time to prune. I've been starting our pruning in Feb for 30 years, no problem.

  9. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Thanks for the info guys.Phishook, we have ideal weather for fruit trees up here. Winters are not too cold, and summers have lots of sun and temps near 35 celcius most days. We have a large number of vineyards also. Our summers here could be compared to that of southern California.
  10. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Messages: 4,260

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