It’s That Time of Year: Pruning Your Trees

Almstead: Pruning Diagram

It’s that time of year again! January and February are thought of as the months that our gardens are lost to winter. Instead, this is the time for strategic preparation that will lead to amazing results!

Winter Preparations for Trees and Shrubs

One of the best things you can do for your landscape is to prune back your trees, shrubs and roses in the winter months. While there are some varieties that require pruning at a later date (early spring bloomers), the majority will benefit from a winter trim.

There are definitely reasons to prune trees and shrubs throughout the year. If they are diseased, have broken or dead limbs go ahead and take them off. But the winter pruning is when you pull out the big guns. It is a time specifically set aside to improve the overall look and health of your trees and shrubs while they are dormant.

Almstead: Pruning to lift the Canopy

Come spring, your trees and shrubs will be putting a lot of energy out on new buds, leaves and branches. By pruning the unwanted branches away, you can concentrate their growth in the direction that you desire. Now is a great time to lift the canopy, thin out the middle branches and remove branches that seem to repeat the branch above it. All of this will improve the growth and health of your trees.

Almstead: Pruning to Clean the Tree Up

Considering a Professional

If you prefer to have a professional do the work for you, make sure you discuss the purpose of your trees in your space and whether or not you have any special requests.

I remember a time when we had our trees trimmed up one winter. I wasn’t clear on one of my favored trees that had a long sweeping branch that hung low and graceful out my back kitchen window. My horse would always walk under it and scratch his back. My boys were endlessly hanging on that same branch and climbing that tree. I remember countless times standing at my kitchen window watching all of the comings and goings of that tree branch. I loved it!

I was so thankful that winter to be having all of our trees pruned back, that is, until I looked out my kitchen window to see my beloved tree branch GONE! It seems silly, but I went out on the back porch and just cried. Once it’s gone, it’s gone…you can’t put it back. I was so heartbroken for the loss of that silly, graceful, lovely branch.

It was a hard lesson, but one I will never forget. I will not be losing anymore tree branches to missed conversations. As I type this, I am eyeing one outside of my office window 🙂

Winter Preparations for Roses

The second thing that I always trim back in the winter months are my roses. February 14th is a day for love and a day to trim back your roses (that’s how I remember it!)

I know it is hard to do, but for the most part, roses need to be cut back hard. This will prevent them from getting too “leggy” and tall. It will keep them full and help them to flower more abundantly. I recommend cutting them back to no more that two feet tall. Cut back all of the smaller branches to the main branch. They will look like sticks sticking out of the ground for now, but you will thank me come springtime!

Sunset Magazine: Pruning Roses Back

If you are going to attempt to take this pruning on yourself, I cannot recommend enough getting a good set of pruners. These are the ones that I will have for the rest of my life! There are none better for the price in my opinion…and I have gone through a lot of pruners! These are the last I ever bought!

So whether you do it yourself or hire someone like StillWater Landscapes to do it for you, make sure you give your landscape a little love this winter!

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