Winter Tree Pruning Tips

What Goes Now & What Waits for Later


It’s finally dormant season! The season meant for pruning your plants and trees. But wait! Not so fast. While some plants should be on your pruning list this month, some pruning should wait until late winter or another season entirely. Read on to learn more winter tree pruning tips regarding projects that can happen now and what’s best to leave for later.

Winter Tree Pruning Tips: What Comes First

It’s the height of dormant season. You may have already experienced some harsh winter weather, but there have been short flashes of spring as well. Looking outside, your plants may be looking rough, but you have to stay tough and only prune what’s damaged, dead, or diseased.

January is also a good time to prune plants that climb (like wisteria) or shrubs and trees highly susceptible to damage during winter storms. Climbers have already produced new long, wispy growth since pruning after flowering last summer. This new growth can be cut back to a few buds.

Young and small trees can be pruned now to help maintain the proper shape. However, larger tree work should be handled by a professional tree service.

What Should Wait

Before you go into full prune-party mode, keep the following in mind to get the best flowering results:

  • Any plants that tend to flower early should not be pruned until after they flower in the spring.
  • Leave bushes—such as hydrangeas and buddleia—until late winter unless it’s big enough to do damage to its surroundings.
  • Avoid pruning cherry and plum trees since they are more susceptible to disease this time of year.

For any other specific winter tree pruning tips, contact Elite Tree Care. Best of all, enjoy the peaceful dormant season while it lasts, because once spring comes there will be plenty more work to do.

Tree Pruning Guide

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Learn how, when, and how much to trim or prune your trees to maximize their health and beauty. This guide covers the factors that go into tree trimming (pruning) and will help you make a more informed decision about hiring a professional tree service.