Why You Should Trim Trees Before Winter to Prepare for Spring


This video is on trimming your trees before the new season. Here on the farm, we trim our trees usually around November. This tends to be when the weather gets a little bit cooler and it’s the perfect time to trim our trees before they go into a little bit of hibernation and then start their new spring growth.

0:00 Trimming Trees in Winter
0:50 Moringa Hedge
4:46 Pecan Tree
6:20 Stone Fruit Tree
9:21 Succeeding in the Spring

Hi, this is Lindsey. I’m here at Lynette’s Urban Farm and today’s project inspiration is all about trimming your trees before the new season. Here on the farm, we trim our trees usually around November. This tends to be when the weather gets a little bit cooler and it’s the perfect time to trim our trees before they go into a little bit of hibernation and then start their new spring growth.

If you think that the world is headed in a direction that makes you a bit concerned for the future and you’d like to be as self-sufficient and independent as possible, then you come to the right place. My name is Lynette Zang. Now it’s time to go Beyond Gold and Silver.

So here behind me, this is our moringa hedge. Moringa grows really rapidly, especially in the summer. It’s important that we trim it otherwise you can see how tall it is. We harvest beans from this tree and also the seeds. And when it’s this height, it becomes really difficult to harvest from. One of the reasons we trim our trees then is so that we can actually reach what we wanna harvest and maintain the tree. Today, we will be cutting it about this tall, so a lot of the upwards growth is going to be cut down. Another reason we trim trees is so that during the colder months they can retain their nutrition, they can use their energy to support their vital systems rather than just trying to produce new growth. It’s hard for plants to produce new growth in the winter and the colder months. By trimming our trees, we make sure that they’re condensing all their energy into their trunk and just the few leaves and systems and branches that we leave behind. Otherwise, they’re expending way too much energy. Trying to fully support a ginormous tree like this. I’m gonna show you just a little bit how we trim the moringa. I’m just using these clippers. You can use a hand saw too, depending on what works for you. Some trees have different thickness. The moringa is a really soft wood, so it’s really easy to cut through with either of these instruments. It just depends on how thick your branches are and what’s easiest for you. Like I said, because a moringa tree is so tall and we wanna cut it so short, we’re gonna have a lot of growth. So just make sure that you keep in mind that depending on your tree, you’re gonna want it at different heights. If you don’t mind picking a peach or a piece of produce that’s a little bit higher, you can leave your tree a little bit higher. But the most important thing is that you just wanna get rid of any extra branches. Any branches that are getting too heavy, are in the way or might cause the tree problems in the future.

I’m just gonna take all these little branches off first so it’s easier to see the base of the tree that I wanna work. Witha isn’t too picky where you cut it. Specific trees, sometimes you wanna cut them at a specific node or area of the tree, but moringa, it’s really resilient and it’s not that picky. And you can see where we’ve cut it in the past. So some of these are from last year’s cuts, so you can tell how much it’s grown in such a short amount of time. So this becomes really critical to maintaining this tree every year.

Now that we’ve gotten the majority of the growth off this tree, you can see how little we actually keep on for the winter months. This is totally fine. Don’t be scared that your tree looks super bare or that you’ve cut off too much. You can cut off too much, but just research your specific tree to figure out what its needs are. Moringa is really resilient. It grows back really fast, and this is what helps it hibernate for the winter. So for moringa specifically, this method is totally fine, and I’m gonna show you what we do with our other fruit trees.

This tree here is a pecan. It’s one of the smaller trees. It’s just starting to produce. You can see some of the pecan pods on the lower branches of the tree. For this one, we’re just gonna take off a little bit because it’s such a small tree. Mainly what I’m doing is just producing the shape of my tree. So when we trim trees, it’s a really good way to gain control over what we want the shape of the tree to be and shape can be important. As you see, we have plenty of other trees in this area, so determining the shape of each of our trees makes sure that they all get sun, that they’re all able to grow healthily and stay out of each other’s way. When I cut this one, I’m gonna cut right at the base so you can see I’m taking this branch all the way over to the main branch and trimming it there. It’s a little bit more strategic than the cutting that I was doing with the moringa tree. Same with the moringa though. We want to decrease the height of our tree. This helps us maintain it. This helps it with new growth in the spring. And also make sure that next year when we get more pecans from this tree, we can reach all of them to harvest. And again, if it has bigger nodes, you wanna cut at a node that’s just like a little bit healthier of a cut.

This is one of our stone fruit trees, and this sad little tree is diseased and it’s been struggling for a couple of years where in the late fall it’ll start to die back. It’ll start to do this where it has one branch of green but sad leaves and then they start to turn brown. And it always comes back in the spring. What we want to do is just maintain it, make sure that the disease doesn’t spread and that we can control it as much as possible. So when you have a tree that’s looking a little bit sad, you want to do a balance of getting rid of the parts of the tree that are either dead, don’t look good, while also giving it enough of the existing tree to survive. Disease trees are under a lot of stress. Just like us, when we’re sick, our bodies are stressed out and we can’t handle as much other changes in our environment. So when we cut off massive limbs of a diseased tree, it can put it into shock and make the situation worse. So we wanna find that very delicate balance between too much and too little. What I’m gonna do for this tree is take off some of the top growth because that’s where most of the dead leaves and branches are occurring. Just clean it up as much as possible and take this branch away from the other tree so it’s not leaning on it. Make sure it has its own space. Take this all the way back to the branch. Cut the top off. Take some of the height off. In the spring, this will ensure that the tree is able to put as much of its energy as possible into producing healthy leaves and being able to cope and come back from the disease. Then I’m gonna take this one right here. As long as your tree has some resemblance of growth that it’s still trying to survive and thrive, you can trim it and hope that it comes back healthy the next year. If this whole tree looked like this, I would take it out. I would say that there’s probably not a lot of hope for it, that it’s just gonna struggle and eventually just stop succeeding. But since this tree comes back well in the spring, we can just maintain this and treat it for disease in the warmer months.

Every tree is a little bit different. Its needs are a little bit different. And how we trim it will help it succeed. For the next season, we trim all of our fruit, nut and trees like moringa. Here on the farm, this helps them over Winter and then succeed in the Spring. I hope this video inspires you to trim your trees and learn how you can best care for them at your garden.

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