The importance of winter tree care

Caring for fruit trees during dormancy

Shh—they’re sleeping! As trees on Vancouver Island shed their leaves, did you know that they are preparing for dormancy?

Also known as the resting period, the dormant season occurs during the early winter months when the amount of daylight decreases and temperature drops. Trees slow their growth and buckle down for winter, conserving energy in preparation for blooming and fruit production next spring. 

This is the perfect time to do a last sweep of the grounds and the tree branches, and to remove any remaining shrivelled up leaves and fruit. We don’t want to leave any luxury homes for next years’ pest-y tenants!

And, it’s a prime time for pruning! Because your trees are bare and leafless, it’s much easier to assess the shape of your tree and determine where you need to cut back and if there are any areas affected by disease.

Pruning improves the overall health of your tree, plus has the potential to increase the yield of next year’s harvest!

Stimulate the right kind of growth

That means creating a strong, manageable structure, with more fruiting potential, by:

Cutting any downward, crossing, rubbing or inward facing branches!
The science behind dormancy shows that the photosynthetic energy that feeds the tree during the active season drains into the wood and root system during the dormant season, becoming stored as potential energy. By cutting away branches, you provide the tree with the opportunity to put that energy to good use creating fruit in the spring!

Chopping all wood that’s dead or diseased.
Any diseased or otherwise compromised branches can negatively impact the entire tree. By removing these parts, you’ll improve the overall health of the tree. And by pruning during the non-growing season you decrease the likelihood of spreading any disease.

Pruning for a nice open shape to encourage permeation of sunlight and air flow!
Not only will cutting away overgrown branches improve the appearance of your tree, it will also improve growth and help weather wind storms. And by increasing air flow and sun exposure, you decrease condensation sitting on the limbs, preventing moisture-loving fungal and bacterial diseases.

If you’re keen to get your fruit tree(s) pruned but you yourself are also entering full dormancy, we can help! Learn more about our Prune-Along program and Professional Pruning Services.