“Thymely” Advice…Winter Pruning


Now that we are approaching the later part of winter, it’s time to think about doing pruning projects before spring gets here. It’s easier to see what you are doing when there aren’t a lot of leaves in the way, so take advantage of a nice afternoon and get some work done!
Here are a few tips to help you out.
  • As a general rule, try not to prune early spring flowering shrubs until after they have bloomed this spring. Shrubs that bloom early have dormant flower buds already formed on the overwintering branches. Pruning now removes the flowers you want to be enjoying in the months to come. On the other hand, if your shrub doesn’t bloom until summer, or doesn’t really have showy flowers to begin with go ahead and prune it now. This year’s flowers will form on the new growth that emerges.
  • Remove broken, diseased or damaged branches first, then prune branches out to help direct growth, control size as needed.
  • Learn where and how to make a proper pruning cut and always use sharp pruning tools that will do the job properly. Hand pruners and loppers are for smaller twigs and branches and pruning saws are for larger branches.
  • Never use pruning paints or sealers. These products were once thought to help protect trees when large cuts had to be made. We now know that these products are cosmetic at best and in many cases, they actually slow down the healing process and increase the likelihood of rot and decay setting into exposed branch tissues. Just learn how to make proper cuts and let your tree do the rest.
  • Unless you really want your plants getting big, most shrub roses will benefit from a hard pruning each spring. In most cases it’s safe to remove around 2/3’s of the old top growth. Then thin and the remaining branches as needed.
  • Most clematis should be pruned to about 12-18” tall each spring. Do this before the new growth starts and remove all of the pruned off branches from your trellis.
We have lots of great pruning tools at Skinner’s. If you need help figuring out what you need or what style or type of pruner or saw would be best for you, just come on out and we’ll give you some recommendations.