We all know how busy life can become and how easily it is to just pop in and out of our homes without taking time to look at spring. It is time to stop pruning your trees until next winter. Why? Because even though it looks like nothing is happening, there is a lot happening within the trees. The sap is moving up the tree and if a branch is trimmed the nutrient within the sap is lost. The sweetness of the sap can also attract insects and disease.
Everything looks pretty dreary and dead right now, but in just a few short weeks it will all have a green fresh tint. Take the time to look at the trees in your yard to see what's happening.
River Birch buds up close
Silver maple - take the time to look up
Viburnum buds up close
Viburnum bushes - from a distance it seems there is nothing going on. But, once again, these are bushes and can be trimmed when time allows. However, I would also wait until they have leafed out and aren't putting so much energy into spring growth.
As days shorten in the fall and temperatures gradually cool, leaves stop producing chlorophyll and the pigments that give maples their bright red fall foliage become exposed. At the same time, the branches start to form "abscission" cells that push off the dying leaves (aided by wind) and seal the little openings where the stems attach.
A sudden cold snap can short-circuit that process. Not only does the leaf color go directly from green to brown, the leaves stay attached because abscission tissue hadn't sufficiently developed.
We believe this is what happened with our Japanese Maple last fall. We had quite an early cold snap in October. This picture was taken two days ago with the leaves still in tact. We will simply wait and watch and hope the tree survives and new spring growth will push the dead leaves off of the tree.
If you have a tree like this in your yard, just allow nature to run its course. We will be keeping a close watch on our two year old tree this spring to make sure all is well.
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