There are a number of reasons for tree pruning; some are safety related, some are to lessen interference with buildings, and some protect the health of the tree. The need for pruning will depend on your own landscape goals as well as the trees themselves and surrounding property. Autumn is one of the best times to identify problem areas in a tree that could benefit from pruning.
Stressed foliage often changes color earlier than foliage in the rest of a tree. Arborists can easily see the color change and help diagnose the cause. As the leaves fall, the structure of the tree will also become more visible. It becomes easier to see and identify structural defects that should be addressed. Any branches that are diseased or damaged may be good candidates for pruning.
Pruning Prepares Trees for Winter Weather
Winter storms, with or without snow and ice, all add stress to dead and broken branches in a tree. This can result in more of these branches falling during the winter. Dead and broken branch removal is one of the most common ways to prevent damage to houses or other objects beneath a tree.
Sometimes branches grow too close to roofs or siding, or they may grow too low over a sidewalk, driveway or lawn. As mentioned above, winter storms will certainly blow these branches around; no one wants a falling branch to injure someone or to damage a home or other building. Therefore, it is wise to have interfering branches removed, thinned, or reduced in length to lessen the problem.
Pruning at the Wrong Time can Attract Insects & Disease
Another factor to consider is that, in some areas, there are causal agents of disease spread by insects that are attracted to fresh pruning cuts. These insects are no longer flying in the late fall and winter, so this is the good time to prune susceptible species. If pruned now, trees including oak and elm will be less likely to contract diseases.
At Bartlett, we like to examine trees at this time of year and then apply our knowledge of tree structure, tree health, and pest problems to develop individual pruning plans to protect properties and improve the health and longevity of the trees.