Home Gardening Winter Pruning: A Beginner’s Guide to What, When, and How to Prune

Winter Pruning: A Beginner’s Guide to What, When, and How to Prune

by Gregory
2 minutes read

Winter Pruning: What to Cut Back and When

What to Prune in Winter

Winter is a great time to tackle structural pruning on mature shrubs and trees. With the leaves gone from deciduous plants, you can easily see the shape and position of the branches. Thin out any that are overcrowded, including large limbs if needed. This helps the plant’s health and lets more light through.

When to Prune

Sap flow in branches and stems slows down or stops in late fall or early winter. Pruning in early winter, when the weather is still mild, gives the wounds time to dry before any serious frosts. Frost in fresh pruning cuts can split tissues and cause die back, which can lead to the death of buds below the cut.

What Not to Prune in Winter

Avoid pruning evergreen shrubs during the coldest months. Their waxy foliage insulates the branches and deflects cold air. Cutting into the foliage would remove this insulation and allow frost to penetrate, potentially killing branches or the whole plant.

Tidy Up Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials that die back in winter can be cut back if they look untidy. Chop the prunings into small pieces and add them to the compost heap or mix them with fallen leaves and use them as mulch on the soil surface.

Cleaning Up

Remember to clear away pruning debris as you go to avoid slipping or stumbling.

Long-Tail Keywords:

  • How to prune deciduous trees in winter
  • Winter pruning tips for herbaceous perennials
  • Avoid pruning evergreen shrubs in winter
  • Benefits of pruning dormant plants
  • Protect plants from frost damage during winter pruning

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