Tree Care: Pruning 101

Nov 2, 2018

Winter can be a sleepy time for gardeners, but it's a great time to start making plans for the trees in your landscape. 

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets the lowdown on tree pruning with Jeff Iles, professor and chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University. Later in the hour, Iowa State University horticulture specialist Richard Jauron and DNR Forester Mark Vitosh join to answer listener questions.

Early winter is the ideal season to start looking at your trees with pruning in mind. As the leaves fall, you can see the full structure of your trees and assess any damage that may have occurred during the year. 

"The calendar isn't in our favor if we want to start doing a lot of work. Trees respond better to wounding, and of course pruning is a wound, when it's done in the late dormant season and even during the summer," Iles says. "However, we can go out and take stock of the woody plants in our yards and landscapes and make some decisions and some plans for what we might do in February or March."

Large tree pruning should be left to professionals, but for smaller trees it's important to establish an annual cycle of pruning that will keep branches healthy and prevent big bills from the arborist later on.