Winter Tree Pruning Tips

For a More Beautiful Spring

Tree pruning

Spring is right around the corner, and it has even made a few surprise appearances throughout this winter season. But don’t get too ahead of yourself. The best time for winter tree pruning is still to come. Here are some tips.

Winter Tree Pruning Tips

Most trees and shrubs have been patiently waiting for their turn for pruning—but not all! While late winter and early spring is the best time to prune many of the plants in your garden, some need to wait a little longer.

This is the time many plants have gone dormant, which means they’re not actively growing. This is why it’s best to reshape a tree and shrub at this time—it’s like clipping a sleeping baby’s nails, they won’t even notice, but don’t cut too much and wake them up. The plant is still bare, making it easy to see what needs to go. Prune to make room for new buds to arrive and the plant can focus energy on healthy growth.

When you’re ready to prune:

  • Pick a mild, dry day. You don’t want to make any fresh cuts on wet branches or when it’s about to rain or snow. This doesn’t give the plant time to heal and increases the chance of water-related disease to spread.
  • Focus on dead and diseased branches then move on to reshape overgrown and smaller branches, but don’t cut more than a third of your plant.
  • Prune any unwanted lower branches of evergreens.
  • Keep branches that maintain the tree structure.
  • Cut branches at the node—the point where one branch or twig attaches to another.
  • Prune any flowering shrubs that form buds on new growth.
  • Prune whatever you can reach with both feet on the ground.

What Not to Prune Now

Not all trees and shrubs should be pruned in the winter or early spring. If you have a shrub or tree that blooms new flowers on old growth, prune these in late spring or summer after the flowers fade. Anything cut too early could be a loss of new buds that would have opened in spring.

Also, if a tree or shrub is too high to reach where you want to prune it, call a professional tree trimmer. It’s best not to try taking sharp pruning shears or electric tools up a ladder. A pro knows what they’re doing and come insured for the job.

If you still have questions about what needs pruning now and what should wait, contact Cardinal Lawns for more information. Put pruning on the calendar if it makes it easier to remember and you’ll be rewarded with a lush and lively garden come spring.

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