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Wintere Injury In Regards To Temperature When Pruning

Posted by Tom Kleffman 
Wintere Injury In Regards To Temperature When Pruning
March 12, 2019 08:01AM
My trees are nearly all young enough that if a few years were missed in regards to pruning, it would mean very little. The few large mature trees can all be pruned in a relatively short period of time. That being said, we have put in a few hundred trees and in the future this will not be the case. I have been told in the past, that as a general rule you do not prune trees when expecting temps to fall close to 0 before it warms up again. This week is the first time this winter where the extended forecast no longer shows that to be the case going forward. Do any of you have experience with cold damage caused by pruning when cold weather follows, and how detrimental is it for the tree's longevity and ability to resist disease?

Tom Kleffman
currently building a fruit orchard from scratch on the Bayfield Peninsula of Wisconsin, 4 miles south of Lake Superior, dead center of the snow belt, zone 5.
Re: Wintere Injury In Regards To Temperature When Pruning
March 12, 2019 09:54AM
I was in eastern Minnesota for 8 years and understand how cold it can get in your neck of the woods. That said, I never liked to be out pruning when the temps were below 15F. I also didn't like to prune the day before or after when it was going to be very cold (<0F), especially if there was significant radiant energy to warm up and expand the branch cambium. If it cools too quickly after you get cracking from when the bark shrinks so fast. . Ditto if the interceding day is warm, too. To me, this is where the greatest amount of damage can occur - cracked cambium. Given how cold it gets in the upper midwest, some days you just have to go for it. Give the trees as much cushion as possible and hope for the best.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
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