Winter is just around the corner, and with the snowflakes and icy temperatures comes an important responsibility: trimming your trees. While stepping out into the cold to tackle this task may not sound too appealing, winter really is the best time for tree trimming. Here's a closer look at the benefits of trimming in winter, and some tips to help guide you.

Why is winter the best time to trim?

In the wintertime, trees are in a state of dormancy. They are not actively growing, and they are not sending so many fluids and nutrients up and down their trunk. So, when you prune the branches, there won't be as much sap leaking out as when you prune in the spring or summer. This minimizes the strain on the tree.

Winter is also the ideal time to prune because pests and fungi are less active during this season. Pests love to feed on the sap after a tree is pruned, and fungi can infect the tree through an open wound. So, pruning in the winter reduces the risk of insect swarms and fungal infections.

How should you prune the tree in the winter?

Make sure you get to this task before temperatures start climbing up again; you don't want the tree to be budding when you trim it, as this wastes its energy. Use sharp shears, as these will cause less damage to the tree. Sanitize them with some rubbing alcohol before you begin, as this will kill any bacteria and fungi to prevent disease.

Aim to remove no more than 1/3 of the tree's branches when pruning. Start by trimming away any branches that are damaged or dead. Cut them about an inch from the trunk, as this helps minimize sap loss. If there are branches that are too long, cut them off an inch from the trunk -- don't just trim the edges off. Make sure you remove any branches that are badly rubbing on other branches, as they will cause damage over time. If any of the branches have cracks in them, those should be removed, too.

If you feel your blades dulling throughout the trimming process, stop and have them sharpened before going on. Make sure you remove branches evenly throughout the tree rather than removing just branches from the top or bottom.

With the tips above, you'll do a great job trimming your tree -- and at the time of year that is best for it! Contact a service, like General Tree Service, for more help