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. We'll even tell you when to tackle it.

Benefit Number 1: Your Trees and Shrubs Are Dormant Now

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 plans than if you had at it in their prime growing months.

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

Benefit Number 2: You Can See What You’re Doing

Now that all the leaves are out of the way, it’s a lot easier to really inspect the branches to see what’s going on in there.

Benefit Number 3: Preventing Disaster

Pruning out diseased or broken branches now will prevent them from toppling to the ground later, potentially harming people or property.


Benefit Number 4: 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.

Benefit Number 5: It Encourages Growth

Proper pruning promotes healthy new growth. Shoots or suckers that have sprouted can be nipped before they grow out of control.

benefits of winter pruning

Benefit Number 6: 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.

So, When Do You Head Out With The Shears?

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.


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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