people need pruning too.

Did you know that winter is a good time for pruning trees?

They enter a state called dormancy and take a rest until the warm spring temperatures arrive. And for some trees, like fruit trees, major pruning work should only be done during the winter to maximize fruit production.

Okay, Lainie, but why the random tree pruning facts?

Maybe we could learn something from this too…

(The following information is from

1. Easier to Evaluate Tree Structure

After the leaves have dropped in fall, it’s easier to see the structure of your trees and, for a trained arborist, it’s easier to identify dead or dangerous branches. This lets us determine whether or not pruning is needed to keep your trees safe and looking their best.

Could our lives use a good evaluation during the quiet months of winter? What habits aren’t serving us? What could we let go of or delegate to release some weight?

2. Looks Better in Spring

Late winter is a great time to prune, contain or rejuvenate overgrown shrubs and trees as they’ll be able to recover quickly in spring with new growth. This will also minimize the amount of time you’ll spend looking at a plant that looks like a bunch of sticks after rejuvenation pruning.

Maybe we do our letting go closer to spring because we can feel the excitement of a new season on the brink. Warmer weather will inspire us to be active, to meet new people, and try new things.

3. Avoids Spreading Disease

Winter pruning can also avoid spreading some serious diseases that are active and spread easily during the spring and summer growing seasons, such as Dutch elm disease, oak wilt, cedar hawthorn rust and fire blight. During winter, the bacteria, fungi, parasites and insects that cause and/or spread disease are either dead or dormant, so diseases are less likely to be transmitted by pruning.

What isn’t healthy for you? It might be habits, your mindset, relationships… How does it spread into other areas of your life? How might you remove it or reshape it to allow for new and healthy growth?

4. More Efficient

If the ground freezes in winter, heavy equipment can be brought in without damaging your landscape, resulting in lower costs, faster work and better outcomes. This is especially true for large pruning jobs and tree removals.

What equipment do you need to bring in, to get the job done? Equipment might include personal learning you need to do, support, resources, etc.

5. Less Stress on Trees

Winter pruning doesn’t stimulate new growth that can be killed by cold weather, damaging and disfiguring the tree (this is why fall pruning isn’t generally a good idea). Plus, research shows that pruning before buds break in spring leads to “optimum wound closure”, letting trees heal from pruning cuts before warmer weather brings out destructive insects and pathogens.

What wound(s) need healing? How has it changed your structure? How might you begin the process of new growth?

6. Prevents Winter Damage

Damaged, dead or dying trees can be dangerous in winter, particularly when we get significant amounts of ice or snow. Dormant pruning makes them safer and can also rejuvenate weaker trees by removing dead and diseased wood.

How might you be dangerous to yourself or those around you? (dangerous is a pretty intense word. Think of it more as, how might you negatively impact yourself and others).

“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest — thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.”

– Beau Taplin

This piece of writing was inspired by an arborist truck parked outside of our house at 8 a.m. this morning. As I sat with the kids at the window, watching the branches fall to the ground, I wondered to myself, I wonder what the health benefits are for the tree? I bet it’s true for people too.

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