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Winter Pruning Guide: Prepping Trees, Shrubs & Bushes for Spring Growth

Winter Pruning Guide: Prepping Trees, Shrubs & Bushes for Spring Growth

As temperatures drop and plants enter dormancy in winter, it’s the optimal time to get outside and prune back trees, shrubs, and bushes on your property. Winter pruning sets up your plants for improved structure, form, and growth when vibrant spring weather returns. Follow this winter plant pruning guide from your Louisville and Southern Indiana area landscaping experts at Walnut Ridge to learn what, when, and how to the process of pruning.

What to Prune in Winter

Trees and shrubs that lose their leaves are prime candidates for winter pruning. Some common varieties include maple, oak, dogwood, magnolia, forsythia, lilac, and fruit trees. Focus on removing dead, damaged, and diseased branches first. Then, prune to enhance the plant’s structure by allowing airflow and light penetration at the interior. This stimulates organized growth come springtime.

When to Tackle Winter Pruning

Most trees and shrubs in cold climates go fully dormant in the depths of winter, making it the perfect time to prune without interrupting the plant’s growth cycle. Late winter is ideal as it allows plants to store energy and nutrients through the fall months prior to pruning. The timing also enables easier identification of dead branches when colder temperatures cause visible dieback.

How to Properly Lop, Saw, and Shear

Use clean, sterilized tools when pruning to prevent disease transfer between plants. Bypass loppers, folding saws, and hand shears all make quick work of cutting depending on the branch size. Always prune just above leaf buds or branches to direct the plant’s regrowth. For most trees, trim no more than 25% during winter pruning sessions to prevent shock. And remove all debris from the area when finished to eliminate hiding spots for pests and fungus.

Consult our team at Walnut Ridge Landscaping if you need professional assistance properly pruning mature trees this winter. We also provide tree and shrub planting, scheduled maintenance, and landscape design services customized for Southern Indiana and Louisville area homes and businesses. Reach out today to refresh your property for 2024!