Winter Pruning

Pruning your trees and other deciduous shrubs in the late winter is just as important as it is during any other season. Doing so helps stimulate growth, and maintains the size and shape of plants ' keeping them healthy and strong. With the right tips and knowledge, you can give your plants the care they need to survive throughout the winter and thrive come springtime.

  • Sharpen pruning shears or saws before you begin to ensure clean, precise cuts.
  • Remove dead, diseased, broken or dying tree limbs, and don't forget to prune close to a bud or branch joint. When cutting dead twigs and branches, it's best to use an anvil pruner.
  • Prune at an angle to promote new growth, and use a bypass pruner or lopper to ensure a clean cut on live branches.
  • Remove heavy ice on branches by spraying it with hot water as a preventive measure. This can relieve pressure from the plant, making it less likely to break from the added weight. If a major storm is expected to hit, cover vulnerable plants with a tarp for protection.

It's also important to make sure you're pruning the right types of trees and shrubs at the right time. During the late winter and early spring, refrain from pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs, like lilacs, rhododendron and bleeding trees, but be sure to prune dormant trees and shrubs like crape myrtle, butterfly bush and fruit trees.