Winter Tree Pruning: Why You Should Prune Your Trees in Winter

Trimming your tree which is also known as pruning is the best way to maintain a tree’s health. Winter is the perfect time to prune your trees as trees slow their growth and most leaves would have fallen; making the tree structure visible. Getting to know how the tree grows and develops helps the arborist to identify structural issues and make suitable decisions in terms of pruning.

Pruning is very important because dead, dying or infectious trees can be detrimental to your tree’s health hence pruning can help you avoid and prevent this as it is a periodic type of cleaning. Winter tree pruning is vital as it decreases the chances of spreading the disease in a tree, unlike pruning during a warmer season which may promote the spread of disease in a tree.

Pruning can be beneficial for your young trees as it helps your trees develop a desirable and suitable form. You will learn more about tree pruning as you read on.

Why is Dormant Pruning Important?

During the dormant period, you might dread the fact that it slows down tree growth, but this can just be more beneficial for you than you think! Listed below are some of the importance of dormant pruning.

  1. Sustains Tree Throughout The Season

Branches that are infected can bring about the infestation of diseases, insects amongst others to the parts of the tree that are growing healthily. Getting rid of these infectious branches empties that tree of spaces that might break off in winter. 

  1. Saves Time And Cost

At this time, arborists have more access and entry to the tree with the aid of specialized equipment for larger tree pruning hence saving cost and time.

  1. Greater Conveniences For You And Your Landscapes

Making schedules beforehand helps you get rid of a few duties or activities when all you want to do is to stay out, enjoying your landscapes. In the winter period, little to no physical sustenance is needed for your property hence there is no disturbance on growth during spring. Also, when the weather breaks out, there will be no shortage whatsoever in your yard work listed on your to-do list.

Benefits Of Winter Pruning

As earlier stated, pruning in winter can be beneficial to your plants. Here are some of the advantages of pruning in winter:

  1. Infection Prevention

Pruning your trees and shrubs during winter helps to prevent infections to them because diseases and insects that are predators to freshly pruned shrubs and trees are dormant at that time.

  1. Improves Tree Structural Integrity

Pruning during the winter periods helps the tree to withstand heavy storms, ice, snow, and minimize damages.

  1. Good For You

Pruning during winter gives you a tangible reason to go out and enjoy your landscape during winter.

  1. Proper View Of The Tree Form

After the leaves have fallen from your trees, the structure and form of your plant become more visible to you, hence helping you make the best decisions at that time.

When To Prune Flowering Shrubs

During late winters and early springs, shrubs are lifeless thereby providing you with a better overview of your shrub and the infected/ damaged parts and structural defects. Therefore late winters and early spring are the perfect time for pruning flowering shrubs.

Late summer and fall are not advisable for pruning flowering shrubs as growths at that time are subject to winter injury.

When To Prune Trees And Evergreens

As for pruning trees, Late winter to early spring, also known as the dormant season is the best time for tree pruning.

However, evergreen can be so reliable that you might feel it needs no pruning at all. Most evergreens have a distinct shape and appearance that keeps them shining like they need no maintenance at all and as the name says, they are always green. However, pruning should not be ignored for evergreens as lack of pruning can be detrimental to their growth.

For example, pruning helps you get the damaged as well as diseased part out as fast as possible hence promoting more healthy growth.

However, the pruning or trimming process for evergreens differs from each other but they all have one thing in common; they do not need much pruning therefore the ideal time to prune evergreens is after the new season’s growth and that falls around late June to July. 

Plants That Needs To Be Pruned In Late Winter

Late winter can be considered the best overall period for pruning. However, there are some evergreen shrubs that are best suitable to be pruned in late winter and they are:

  1. Yew
  2. Holly
  3. Boxwood.

Also, evergreen trees like spruce and fir should be pruned in late winter.

Shade trees that need to be pruned in late winters or early spring are:

1. Sweetgum

2. Maple

3. Katsura

4. Oak

5. Hornbeam.

Mistakes To Avoid As You Prep Your Trees For Winter

Listed below are a few errors or mistakes to avoid as your trees are getting prepped for the cold season.

  1. Skipping Tree Pruning in Winter

The Winter season which is also known as the dormant season is a period of time when trees normally slow their growth. This is the perfect time to remove broken and unhealthy branches that will likely stand in the way to new spring growth of your trees and decrease the possibility of spreading the disease.

  1. Not Applying Insect Prevention Oil

Failure to apply insect prevention oil during the winter season exposes your trees to a high risk of pest-filled spring.

  1. Pruning Soft and Gentle Plants Before Winter

Cutting a soft plant before winter is tantamount to damaging or killing it. Pruned trees and plants need valuable time for recovery because these plants cannot protect themselves from the chilly weather. 

  1.      Leaving Your Hoses and Drip Systems Without Drainage

Leaving your hoses and drip system out in the weather, full of water, will make them freeze and crack and the very next year, your hoses will begin to have holes in them. Always make sure you keep your hose drained at the end of the year and keep them away from the weather.

  1. Churning Your Garden

Churning all dying plants can be very tempting but this little act can expose your plants as well as your soil to damage.


Pruning your trees and shrubs can be very beneficial to them. However, doing it at the wrong time and wrong way can be detrimental to them as well as their growth. Whenever it is time to prune, use good equipment and also do it skillfully or hire a professional arborist so as to avoid damages.

Also note that the trimming or pruning technique of trees, as well as shrubs, differs from each other. Most importantly, don’t forget that shrubs require gentle trimming.

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