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Pruning to avoid winter breakage [Archive] - Arbor Day Forum

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Alison Heins
11-23-2004, 12:50 PM
Many of the trees and shrubs I have planted have suffered significant breakage in the past due to the amount of snow/freeze/thaw that we experience in northern lower Michigan. This fall (November) I pruned some young chestnuts back to a central trunk to avoid snow damage. Now a colleague tells me this is the worst time of year to prune (I thought they were dormant).

When is the best time to prune to avoid winter breakage?

pwk16
12-01-2004, 02:40 PM
I have never heard of this practice. I would recommend removing all the leaves from the tree if it's young, but removing leaf area unnecessarily will starve the tree, eventually. If you do have breakage you can prune the broken branches in the spring, but pruning for snow doesn't sound like a good idea. You should never remove more than 33% of the leaf area in any 4 year period, from what I've been told.