Countdown to Spring: Time to start pruning your trees

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With spring less than thirty days away, time is running out to prune your trees.

The end of winter is the best time of year

“Winter is a great time of year because trees are in their dormant state," Francis Skalicky, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said.

Meaning the trees aren't growing.

“And also it gives us a better view of the structure of the trees as we’re up in them working," Noel Boyer, with All About Trees, said.

Pruning in the summer is not bad for trees, but it does expose them to more insects and diseases. The freshly cut branches are like an open wound to the elements.

Wintertime is often when tree cutting companies offer discounts on services.

“It’s less busy this time of year so you’ll get a faster service," Boyer said.

Some pruning is safe to do yourself, such as trimming low hanging branches. Just make sure the proper equipment is used.

“That’s small hand saws, loppers. Don’t use a chainsaw," Skalicky said.

For limbs higher up in trees or around power lines, it's safest to call the professionals.

“Unless you have a death wish don’t be going up into the treetops hanging from a rope," Boyer said.

As a good rule of thumb, when pruning trees try to cut off as little as possible.

“We don’t ever want to take more than 25 percent of a tree leaf away at one time," Boyer said.

Cutting off too much runs the risk of a tree going into shock.

“We want the tree to be healthy and vigorous," Boyer said.

When you’re looking for a company to prune your trees, you want to make sure they offer workers compensation and liability insurance. To preserve your trees find a company that has an arborist on staff.

Missouri Department of Conservation Tree Care: