Winter is here and now is the best time to prune your trees and shrubs. Here’s why:
We are better able to see the branching structure now that plants have defoliated. Proper branching structure increases the strength of the plant, reduces disease through increased airflow, and enhances aesthetics. The natural shape and growth habits of each tree and shrub are considered when pruning for shape and structure. A properly cared-for tree or shrub should not look like it’s been heavily pruned.
Plants are no longer growing and moving water and nutrients at this time of the year. This means faster recovery in the spring when things wake up. Pruning creates many wounds on the plant, which need to heal. Open wounds can be a path for disease and insects to enter the plant. During winter months, many of these pathogens are dead or dormant.
Some plants only flower on new growth. By pruning before the growing season, we can maximize and control the flush of new growth in the spring, thus increasing the number of flowers you get to enjoy.
Some shrubs may require a severe cutback. We call this rejuvenative pruning. This type of pruning may be required when a plant is too large for its location. Some shrubs like roses, Vitex, and Butterfly Bush require a heavy cutback to flush with new vigorous growth in the spring. In some cases, we will prune Smokebush hard to get an abundance of bright yellow or red shoots of foliage on new stems.