HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Winter is about half over and summer can't come any sooner as far as I'm concerned. However, before the dandelions start to bloom and better yet, around the last of February, you have the green light to prune your landscape trees that lose their leaves in the fall.
One good thing about winter pruning is that homeowners have a clear view of the tree so appropriate branches can be selected and removed. Also, the wound healing process occurs most rapidly just prior to new growth in the spring. Better said, the wounds heal better the closer you can get to when the buds start to swell.
Proper pruning improves the trees appearance, maintains the health and prolongs the life of the tree. What improper pruning does is destroy the plants natural beauty. It can weaken the tree or even lead to it's premature death. I didn't even mention money and time to grow that tree. It's essential to make proper cuts when pruning.
First of all, don't make flush cuts. By this, I mean cuts that are made too close to the trunk or next to a main branch. These wounds won't heal and can be an easy port of call for insects and disease especially during the growing season.
On the other hand, don't do the opposite pruning and leave a stub more than an inch or more. The same disease and insect problem will occur.
This next piece of news may be surprising to many. Using a wound dressing that you can spray or paint on those tree wounds you made is a no-no. This sometimes well-known method of covering the wound will actually inhibit or delay the healing process not to mention increasing insect and disease problems.
I've saved the most important for last. Don't top your trees because it will be the beginning of the end for those trees. Don't let anybody convince you that your perfectly healthy tree needs to be topped. Don't do it please!