The 6 Benefits of Winter Pruning (And When To Do It)

Just when you thought it was time to stow the garden tools for the season, you get this news: winter is great for pruning.

In fact, winter is the best time for pruning trees and shrubs. You can wait a bit for grasses, but it’ll still be chilly when they need a trim.

Sure, it's more comfy for YOU to tackle this task in July. In shorts. Holding an icy lemonade. But your plants prefer it now.

Here are 6 benefits of winter pruning.

Trees and Shrubs Are Dormant in Winter

Imagine someone coming at you with a sharp pair of shears, ready to cut. You’d prefer to be a bit numb right?

The time of year, your trees and shrubs are dormant.  You’ll do less damage now when you prune, shape and thin your deciduous plants than if you had at it in their prime growing months.

Pruning shrubs in winter

Those fresh pruning cuts you make heal faster during the dormant season and are less likely to attract insects, which can carry diseases.

You Can See What You’re Doing

With the leaves gone, you have a clear view of each branch, allowing you to closely examine the structure and health of the tree or shrub. This unobstructed view helps you identify any dead, diseased, or crossing branches that need to be pruned, ensuring the overall well-being and aesthetics of your plants.

So take advantage of this opportunity to give your trees and shrubs the attention they need during the dormant winter season.

Winter Pruning Prevents Disaster

By removing diseased or broken branches during the dormant winter season, you are not only safeguarding against potential hazards in the future but also protecting the well-being of your surroundings. Preventing these branches from falling later can prevent accidents, property damage, and injury to both people and wildlife.

It's a proactive approach to maintaining a safe and healthy environment, ensuring that your trees and shrubs thrive without posing any risks.

Pruning Builds a Healthy Structure

Pruning also helps direct growth in a healthy way and helps control the size of a tree or shrub.

Start with a young tree, and pruning helps it develop a strong structure and attractive form.

Bonus: start early and your tree will need less corrective pruning as it matures.

Winter Pruning Encourages Growth

Proper pruning promotes healthy new growth by allowing plants to allocate their resources effectively. By removing shoots or suckers that have sprouted, you can prevent them from diverting energy away from the main branches and foliage. This strategic pruning not only maintains the plant's overall health and vitality but also ensures that it grows in a controlled and balanced manner.

Healthy Growing Tree

By staying proactive with your pruning practices, you can nip any potential overgrowth in the bud before it becomes a problem, ultimately leading to a more robust and flourishing landscape.

Pruned Trees And Shrubs Live Longer

It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to prune, but it actually makes a plant stronger. That means trees and shrubs can better stand up to storms, high wind, ice and snow.

Pruning improves a tree's air circulation, too, which keeps diseases from striking.

When to Prune Trees & Shrubs in Idaho?

Here in the Idaho Falls area, your trees and shrubs will get the best benefits of winter pruning if you tackle the task before any hint of spring. A sunny day in January or February is a great time to prune.

Head out with the shears too early, and your trees and shrubs aren’t yet dormant, and those fresh cuts you make will invite insects and disease. Start snipping too late, in spring, and you could nip off buds and prevent any flowering.

What About Pruning Ornamental Grasses?

You can wait until late winter to cut back your ornamental grasses. Many of them add interest, grace and movement to your winter landscape. Frilly tassels look pretty with a dusting of snow, and the seed heads can feed the birds.

Pick a sunny day toward the end of winter — or as late as March — then cut them to about six inches above the ground.

Wear garden or work gloves and be careful — the big blades of grass can be sharp.

Call Outback — We’re Pruning Pros

Or, take the easiest step yet — let the pros at Outback Landscape tackle your winter pruning.

We know pruning can be a bit tricky — and intimidating. Pruning mistakes really can damage your trees and shrubs. But the benefits of winter pruning outweigh the anxiety.

At Outback, we know exactly what your trees, shrubs and grasses need — not just in the winter, but all year long.

Located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, we serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Contact Outback Landscape for a free estimate at 208-656-3220, or fill out the contact form to schedule an onsite consultation.

We’d love to hear from you.

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