Winter Plant Pruning Tips
What to Cut & What to Keep
December 16, 2021
Now that it’s winter—dormant season for plants—it’s the ideal time to prune those trees and shrubs back into shape. But not all of them! Yes, there are still some that need to wait until the right season. Read on for more winter plant pruning tips and find out which plants still need to be patient.
Winter Plant Pruning Tips
Most plants stop actively growing in the winter, making it the best time to do any major tree pruning and shaping. All the leaves are gone and you can easily see what strong, healthy branches should stay and which weaker, decaying branches should go.
Trees and shrubs that bloom on new growth should be pruned in the late winter or early spring. Then, when it’s time to wake up, these plants put their energy into producing new, healthier growth.
When pruning in the winter, keep these tips in mind:
- Pick a dry, mild day to prune. You don’t want any harsh, wet weather to stress the plant out more. You also don’t want the stress of having to work in such conditions.
- Take the dead and diseased branches out first then shape the rest.
- Remove small and overgrown branches at the top to increase light and airflow.
- Take out any lower branches on evergreen plants.
- Cut all branches at the node—the point where one branch attaches to another.
- Keep any branches that maintain the structure of the tree.
Not all plants should be pruned in the winter. If you see buds already starting to form, stop pruning and make sure this is the right time to work on these particular plants.
When to Wait to Prune
Recognize when your plants bloom and flower. This will help you determine the best time to prune. Plants that bloom on old growth should be pruned in late spring or summer after their flowers fade. If you prune these plants at the wrong time, you risk cutting off new buds waiting to bloom in the spring.
You also want to wait to prune any plant you can’t safely reach from standing on the ground. Ideally, you don’t want to climb a ladder with a sharp object to prune branches. Wait until a professional service can help you. This way the job will be done safely and effectively. Contact Elite Tree Care for more information on the best time to prune your particular plants and for a tall tree trimming consultation.
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