When the mercury drops and flakes start flying, it’s tempting to hunker down and wait out the seasonal chill when it comes to your yard. That’s what the cozy hearth is for, right? But while it may seem counterintuitive, winter is actually the best time to give many trees and shrubs a little TLC—late winter, to be precise. Here, Lifescape’s property care manager Matt Cloud shares the benefits of cold-weather pruning, plus winter pruning do’s and don’ts.
Though it may seem natural to thin out your gardens in fall, the reality is that it will leave your plants more susceptible to disease. Pruning in late winter will kick-start fresh growth. “Avoid early winter,” Cloud says. “Prolonged freezing temperatures can damage tender new growths, which can require more pruning in spring. Why double the workload?”
Now that you know when to bust out the gloves and shears, here are Lifescape’s tips for effective winter pruning:
Do: Have a game plan.
“Before chopping, make sure you have a reason for whatever you’re eliminating,” Cloud says. “Once that branch is gone, that’s it—and it can be a slippery slope.”
Do: Invest in proper protective gear and tools if you’re going the DIY route.
That includes gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats when aiming for large branches.
Do: Make an exception to the winter rule for trees with dead limbs that pose a safety hazard.
These should be removed immediately, no matter the season.
Don’t: Treat all flowering plants the same.
Shrubs that bloom in spring versus late summer will have different pruning needs; do you research or hire a professional before you blanket-prune your whole yard in February.
Don’t: Shear instead of prune.
Shearing involves trimming just the outer edges for aesthetics. “It is easier,” Cloud says. “But it neglects the inner growth. Pruning targets specific branches throughout the entire plant to maintain vitality and allow for natural shape, while shearing creates an artificial look.”
Landscape care requires knowledge, expertise and experience. Lifescape Colorado brings this trifecta to properties across the state. We combine more than 40 years of experience with a dedicated team of landscape architecture professionals and property care experts, into one of the most trusted names in landscape design and care in the United States.
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