Six Benefits of Winter Pruning Trees and Shrubs

One misconception of the landscape industry is that once the air turns cold and the snow flies the work in the garden is done until spring. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. One task that is best done during the winter is pruning trees and shrubs. The below discusses the benefits of winter pruning trees and shrubs. 

During the winter months trees and shrubs enter a state of dormancy. The leaves fall from deciduous plants and they essentially rest until the warmer spring weather. Pruning during this period is referred to as “Dormant Pruning.” As you will discover below, dormant pruning has several benefits for your trees and shrubs and the aesthetics of your gardens and landscape. 

1. Tree Structure is Easier to Evaluate in the Winter 

Evaluating the structure of trees is easier done with accuracy after the leaves of a tree have dropped. We all understand the importance of trees and their necessity. But sometimes they have flaws. Identifying these flaws and doing the necessary pruning can mean healthier, better-looking trees. Even more important, identifying the flaws of a tree can mean SAFER trees. An especially dangerous tree may need to be removed.

The same can be said for shrubs. With the leaves off the shrub, structural pruning and identifying crossing branches is much easier to complete. 

2. Trees and Shrubs will Look Better in Spring

Winter is an ideal time to prune, contain, or rejuvenate overgrown shrubs and trees. Branches cut back during the winter months will quickly be able to recover in spring with new growth.

 Also, some shrubs, such as Panicle Hydrangea or Smooth Hydrangea, which bloom on new growth can be pruned at this time. This encourages new growth that will create a sturdy frame that will support their heavy blossoms. 

3. Dormant Pruning Avoids Spreading Diseases 

During the winter months, many bacteria, fungi, parasites, and insects that cause and or spread disease are either dead or dormant. Hence, winter pruning means less disease is spread during the winter months. Therefore, pruning trees such as oak during the winter is beneficial to the health of the tree. 

4. Efficiencies and Cost Benefits of Winter Pruning 

During the winter months in Wisconsin typically the ground is frozen. This means if we have to bring in heavy equipment we can do so without causing extensive damage to the turf. It also means when pruning shrubs, navigating gardens can be done without concern of trampling perennials and groundcovers in the process. Another benefit is, there is less competition for our time in the winter than in the spring and it is much easier to get scheduled during the winter months. 

5. Winter Pruning Can be Less Stressful on Trees and Shrubs 

Pruning trees and shrubs when they are dormant doesn’t stimulate new growth. It has been demonstrated that pruning in the winter months allows trees and shrubs time to heal from pruning cuts before warmer weather brings destructive insects and pathogens to life. 

6. Dormant Pruning Prevents Winter Damage

Damaged, dead, or dying trees on your property can be a real liability. They can be especially dangerous in the winter months when we can get substantial amounts of wind, ice, and snow. As these elements can snap limbs and even bring down suspect trees. Wintertime dormant pruning can make these trees safer and rejuvenate weaker trees by removing dead and diseased wood. 

Contact Us for a Free Dormant Pruning and Tree Removal Assessment 

Landmark Landscapes of Sheboygan Falls, WI is a full-service landscape company. Based out of Sheboygan County, with a satellite office in Green Lake, Wisconsin.  We are centrally located and uniquely positioned to service the areas of Sheboygan, Elkhart Lake, Fond Du Lac County, Green Lake County, Ozaukee County, Manitowoc County, and Door County. We can manage your property with our Total Property Care system, and design and build projects large and small. Contact us today at 920-467-6442 to learn how we can care for you.