Take time between rainstorms to walk around your yard and look at your trees and shrubs. Do you find ones that are growing too densely? Do you see crossing branches or branches? Do you see signs of damage or disease?
Mid to late winter is an excellent time to prune. You can find lots of good information online to help you prune correctly (see links below).
If you would rather have an expert tackle your winter pruning tasks, give us a call. We still have room on our winter pruning schedule.
You can trust our expert pruning technicians to treat your prized plantings well. They are all ISA Certified Arborists (International Society of Arboriculture).
Why to prune in winter
When plants are dormant, pruning is less stressful on the plants. Winter pruning promotes healthy growth and helps develop good branch structure.
There are no leaves, which makes it easier to see the shape of the tree and determine good branch structure.
It improves air circulation within the canopy of the tree to reduce possible fungal issues. It also allows more sunlight to reach plants below the tree, improving their health and growth.
Removing weak or damaged branches will help your tree or shrub make it through severe winter weather.
It may be easier to reach trees and shrubs without harming other landscape plantings.
Pruning in winter can, however, encourage vigorous growth. If you are concerned about that, it is best to wait until summer.
Winter pruning steps
Our overall goal in pruning is the long-term health of your trees and shrubs. Trees that are healthy are beautiful. We will prune for the plant’s natural shape and size.
Pruning steps will likely include:
- Remove dead, diseased or damaged branches
- Remove crossing or rubbing branches
- Thin dense growth
- Remove water sprouts
- Reduce size as needed
We do not shear or top trees and shrubs because that can harm a tree’s health. If we need to reduce the size of a tree, we will remove individual branches.
If you have a tree or shrub that has been pruned badly in the past, we can work to restore its structure and form. This may take a few years to correct because we need to do it in stages. We will adjust the plant’s shape as it grows.
Many different plants benefit from winter pruning. This includes maples, rhododendrons, styrax, stewartia, fruit trees and other deciduous trees, and more.
If you would like a free pruning estimate, please let us know. We look forward to talking with you and helping you keep your trees healthy.
Plant Amnesty has a large number of pruning videos.
Chicago Botanic Garden: Pruning in winter.
National Arbor Day Foundation: Prune your trees.
Davey Tree: Dormant season is an ideal time for pruning.