Getting Trees Ready for Winter

Did you notice how many limbs some of the trees lost this year? Let’s talk about what happens when trees are not pruned on a regular basis. The worst case scenario would be for a rather large branch to drop through your roof or on your car! The second worse incident would be for the falling limbs to take out electricity or close bridges and roads. We may not like it, but our local utility companies and counties have to pick up the slack when safety becomes an issue. Let’s face the reality; tree trimming can be a costly procedure, and if we do not do it ourselves, someone has to.

The county and the utility companies do not cut the limbs over your roof, but they do protect the lines that power our homes as well as the roads on which we drive. They have a lot of territory to cover, and it is an economic reality that they will move through as quickly as possible. Each one of us could pick up the cost of having our trees trimmed the way we want it done — as long as the safety issues were addressed. All it takes is a plan and a phone call to the utility or the county. Hey, it saves them time and money, so they would be delighted to see the homeowner/landowner take care of it.

Most of the trees around our homes are the slow growing, beautiful ones like live oaks, maples, burr oaks and pecans. Hackberry trees, poplars and cedars are fast-growing and short- lived. Even though they may look awful when the utility or county workers are forced to cut them back, they will cover the road again in two years if not “whacked back” again. Of course, any landowner has the option to trim back any trees on their property. The county and utility companies only do it to keep us safe on our public roads. The pictures taken on our pubic county roads may look bad right after the trees are trimmed in the spring, but drive back by in the summer months, and you will see lush growth everywhere.

This is the month to start scheduling your own tree trimming if you do not do it yourself. The first freeze is usually around Thanksgiving, and you do not want to be cutting on your trees anytime after October 1. The trimming stimulates growth, and you do not want the freeze to really damage your trees. Call a licensed and insured tree service now to get on their schedule, and get ready to sit back and smile as others scurry to repair roofs, get electricity turned back on and even to get out of their driveways when the big storms come!

Written by Nancy Fenton, Master Gardener.