Tree removal in Virginia is a year-round activity, but what’s the best time to remove trees? The quick answer is winter, and while that’s generally true, it’s not quite that simple.

While many reasons, such as reduced foliage, dormancy, and reduced insect activity, make winter the ideal season to remove trees, that’s not to say it can only be done in winter or that the winter season doesn’t come with problems.

Though we don’t get as much snowfall as other places, winter weather can create conditions that can make jobs more dangerous for Virginia tree service companies. These conditions include:

  • Winter storms and lighting
  • Occasional heavy snowfall and strong winds
  • Icy conditions that make tree climbing and cutting dangerous

While these hazards need consideration when scheduling tree service, winter still presents some of the best opportunities to remove trees.

Why Winter is the Best Time of Year to Remove Your Trees

All else being equal, winter (December-early March) is a great time to remove your trees in Central Virginia. This is due to the upsides of the season:

  1. Spreading tree diseases is less likely in winter
  2. Seasonal conditions make for easier and safer removal
  3. You can save money with a winter tree removal

Let’s learn more about how the colder winter has seasonal advantages.

A Dutch elm tree with a bare canopy caused by Dutch elm disease sits among healthy trees with a road and rolling hills in the background on a sunny day.

A leafless Dutch Elm. Photo courtesy of Joseph OBrien, USDA Forest Service,

Winter is the Best Time to Avoid Spreading Tree Diseases

Dormancy is a natural part of the yearly growth cycle for Virginia trees. During dormancy, trees stop growing to conserve energy until the weather warms and more sunlight is available for photosynthesis.

But what does this dormancy mean for removal?

Sick and diseased trees are much less likely to spread illness during the winter (unlike people!) since the diseases often require new growth or insect activity to spread – both of which are nearly non-existent during the winter months. This is why some states have prohibited the cutting or removal of Dutch elms (to prevent the spread of Dutch elm disease) or oaks (to minimize the risk of spreading oak wilt) during their active.

While Virginia has no disease regulations regarding removal, waiting until winter to remove trees will reduce the potential risk of spreading disease due to both dormancy and reduced insect activity. Some tree diseases relevant to Virginia include:

  • Beech Bark Disease
  • Chestnut Blight
  • Dogwood Anthracnose
  • White Pine Blister Rust

Winter Conditions Make for an Easier Virginia Tree Removal

A practical advantage of winter tree removal is that deciduous trees have lost their leaves for the season. This makes for easier removal. The lack of leaves allows tree climbers and other tree service professionals an unobstructed view of the job. And this means more efficient use of time.

A complete view of the tree also allows tree professionals to identify and address safety issues and adjust the selected tree removal method accordingly, resulting in a safer removal. Lastly, you may be surprised, but winter is an ideal time to perform stump grinding. The hard, frozen winter ground results in less disruption to the surrounding earth when removing a stump. This means a smaller hole is left behind. Another winter bonus!

A large leafless oak with a wide canopy spread stands alone in the winter snow in front of a gray sky.

A leafless tree like the oak seen here can be easier to remove in the wintertime.

Winter Tree Removal Can Save You Money

A common question Virginia residents ask is, “Why is tree removal so expensive?” People love to save money, and there are several advantages to winter tree removal that may help you do just that.

Since many tree removal jobs can be done more efficiently in winter, you may save money on the time involved. Overall, the lack of foliage makes for quicker assessment and removal.

This lack of foliage also means less debris to clean up and green waste to haul away, another money and labor-saving advantage of winter tree removal.

Tree service demand decreases in the winter, and business for tree companies often slows. While some services offer snow removal or other winter services, there is generally less winter tree work.

With the demand for tree work down, some tree service companies will offer special pricing or discounts for winter work, saving you money.

Virginia Tree Removal Emergencies Shouldn’t Wait, No Matter the Time of Year

Tree removal is a service we can do any time of year and should be done on your schedule. However, some situations must be handled immediately, regardless of the season.

Damaged, Dying & Dead Trees

Accidents and severe weather can damage healthy trees any time of year, making them a safety risk that should be evaluated by a tree care professional as soon as possible If the tree cannot be saved through pruning or other means, then the best option will be to cut it down before it can fall over, drop broken branches, or injure someone.

Dying trees can also be hazards that should be removed quickly. For example, ash trees infested with emerald ash borer and oak trees experiencing oak decline are best removed before they die as they become increasingly dangerous and more difficult to remove safely once they’re dead.

Dead trees don’t always need to be removed, but they should be assessed by a tree service professional to determine whether they’re safe to leave standing. If a tree is a hazard, your tree service company will recommend removing it quickly (don’t wait until winter!).

It’s always best to take care of hazardous trees quickly, especially if they pose an immediate danger. And if any of your trees are damaged in a storm, call an emergency tree service right away.

Do You Need Help with Tree Removal?

ZZ Tree are third-generation tree experts who can help you with tree removal, emergency work, or any other tree service needs you to have. If you’re in the Fredericksburg or Richmond area, contact us for a free quote.

About ZZ Tree

We’re a 3rd generation tree care company with deep roots in the central and northern Virginia region providing the honest, knowledgeable service you deserve. We always offer straightforward pricing, free quotes, and the responsive, caring service you deserve from a quality tree care company.

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