Winter Pruning

healed angry rub
healed angry rub
A natural graft between two branches

Winter, perhaps the most picturesque of seasons, captivates us with its frost, rain, and snow, seamlessly transitioning from one scene to the next. For us it is also our busiest time of year, filled with planting and digging up trees for despatch. Despite the hustle & bustle of winter, Philip enjoys nothing more than patrolling the nursery, examining each tree closely. It is the season when deciduous trees shed their leaves, revealing their inner canopy structure. ( winter pruning)

Angry rubs

The bitter wind can sometimes cause branches to rub against each other, exhibiting what we call ‘angry rubs’. These create open wounds which allow pathogens to enter and harm the tree’s health. Identifying and addressing these issues is crucial to the tree’s survival as it is these branches which sometimes need removing. Not all varieties suffer this problem as some have rigid branches that touch each other but don’t rub, and these can be left untouched as they don’t cause
open wounds.

 It is important when removing big crossing branches with ‘angry rubs’, to make sure the correct one is removed.  This involves studying the canopy in detail and looking at which of the two will have the least impact on the canopy once removed.  Often it helps to walk around the tree to inspect it from different angles before doing the cut. 

To prevent tearing and to promote cleaner healing, Philip prefers to leave a small stump when removing a branch, as sometimes they can tear when being removed, leaving what can often be a large scar for the tree to heal.

healed angry rub 2
Non angry rub

The Healing

Once the branch has been removed and untangled from the canopy, the remaining stump can be cut back flush with the main trunk, leaving a clean cut for the tree to heal over. We use a small amount of soil from the base of the tree to rub on the open wounds, as there is a belief that the organisms which dwell beneath the tree can aid the healing process. The size of the trunk which is to be removed will determine what type of tool we use; often it is simply secateurs if the branch is not too large, otherwise a small hand saw might be needed.
In time the tree will heal and become stronger as a result, giving much pleasure throughout the

Check out more pruning tips in out Tree care pruning section.