December 1, 2022
Winter pruning is healthy for most plants, since you are pruning during the time when the plant is dormant. The plants will have time to recover before flowering, all the energy of the growing season can be put toward new, healthy growth when spring comes, and, without the foliage, winter pruning is a lot easier, simply because you can see what you’re doing instead of digging around in foliage.
Before you prune your shrubs, consider when they flower. If your shrubs form their flower buds on “new” wood, such as abelia, butterfly bush, some varieties of clematis, hydrangeas, roses, dogwoods, and summersweet, they should be pruned in late winter. If the shrubs bloom best on “old” wood, such as azalea, other varieties of clematis, forsythia, lilacs, mountain laurel , wisteria, and others, should be pruned at the end of the growing season so you are not pruning off anything that will bloom. If you aren’t sure which category your shrubs fall into, speaking to your landscaper or a garden expert at your local nursery can help you determine the best way to prune your shrubs.
The best time to prune most trees is in late winter, when the trees are dormant but before new growth begins. Evergreen trees require little trimming, but removing the lower branches to create access and the dead growth for health are occasionally necessary, and winter is the best time to do this. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a tree has dead branches higher up. Tree pruners with long-reach poles can be helpful to keep you safe, but if a tree is out of your reach for safe pruning, hire a tree specialist or a landscaper with the right equipment.
Benefits of Pruning
Pruning has many benefits. Old, dead branches can choke out new growth and make the plant much less healthy. When you prune, you are promoting new growth, as well as enhancing the structure and form of the plant itself. Dead branches may be diseased, which can quickly spread to other parts of the plant if they are allowed to remain. Winter pruning can have a rejuvenating effect on many spring flowering trees and shrubs.
Winter Pruning Tips
The best time to prune is on a mild, dry day after the first hard frost but before the winter really sets in. Freshly pruned branches can be damaged by extremely cold weather and will do much better if they have a mild day to recover before a freeze. The first step is to prune any dead or diseased branches. After that, unwanted lower branches can be removed. Overgrown or small branches at the crown of the plant can be removed next, but you want to keep any branch that develops or maintains the structure of the tree. When pruning, make sure to cut branches at the node, which is the point at which one branch or twig attaches to another.
Winter pruning is one of the best things you can do to ensure a beautiful season of new growth in spring. Cutting back the old and dead growth will leave plenty of space and growing energy for new blossoms in the spring. To learn more about how you can prune your plants this winter for healthy growth next spring, contact our landscape design team. We offer seasonal services as well, and with Twin Oaks Landscape taking care of your winter pruning, you can rest easy knowing your plants trees, and shrubs are in good hands.
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