Winter landscape maintenance: why pruning is important

Blog Contributed by Stephen McClain

he winter months are the best time to keep your landscape maintained and prepared to withstand the harsh, cold months. Things like raking away leaves and a round of fertilization will keep your yard nourished and ready for spring. But, there’s another very important landscaping task – pruning! There are several reasons for you to prune your trees and shrubs, including health, safety and longevity. Pruning at the right times can also prevent problems that may come up in the future. But how do you know when to prune?

Now is actually the best time to begin your pruning. Late winter, just before spring growth begins, is the best time to prune most trees because the structure of the tree is more visible. You can easily see branches that will need to be trimmed back or removed completely. You’ll want to look for branches that grow in a V-shaped angle. The reason? Two branches in this shape is too acute and will not allow for enough space to add new wood. Which means your tree will lose precious strength. Selective removal of branches with V-shaped angles will help to potentially strengthen the tree and allow it to grow.

Removal of dead wood can and should be done at any time of the year but timing is critical. Be sure to prune when the tree is dry so you can get a clean cut.

Removing the dead weight makes it easier to see diseased, damaged, or dead branches that could present a hazard now or in the future.

The additional benefits to pruning a tree during dormancy are that you lower the risk of transmitting disease, the pruning cuts will heal faster, and it’s much easier for you to keep up with the maintenance!

So you see, pruning is actually pretty simple. Remember to trim your trees and shrubs annually this time of year, and keep an eye out for any limbs that may cause problems down the road. In fact, pruning is one of the simplest things you can do to keep your trees looking great. So, get out there and snip away!

Keep an eye out for more tips and gardening tricks here, and call us if you notice any issues creeping into your landscape during the winter months. Contact us anytime at

About The Author

In addition to being a manager on the landscaping maintenance, installation and turf management team at Great Estates Landscaping, Stephen McClain is a sports fanatic who enjoys spending time in nature and doing outdoor activities with his family.

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