Winter shrub pruning tips

Updated Dec 15, 2022
Landscaper pruning shrubs
Grassperson

Winter can still be a great time to prune a wide variety of shrubs, particularly if you're in a warmer location like we are in Texas. One of the benefits of winter shrub pruning is that you don't have to wait long for new growth in the spring. When pruning shrubs in the fall, there is a long wait until they start to fill in again. Of course, it all comes down to the species you're pruning. In certain species, pruning can inspire new growth which would not be good ahead of frost.

Here are a few additional winter shrub pruning tips that our crews embrace.

Prune with a plan

No matter what the season is, it's always important to prune with a plan. Our plant care technicians are making strategic decisions ahead of cutting. Typically, they are focused on pruning shrub tips and avoiding the base of the plant. 

One of the most common pruning mistakes is taking off too much. By having a plan, you can avoid over-pruning. 

Keep the focus on dead and diseased branches

The goal of pruning is to eliminate dead, diseased, or decaying branches that are zapping energy from the rest of the plant. Winter pruning helps the plant to make room for new growth in the spring and to be able to put all of its energy into new growth (not repairing already-dying branches). 

Tell clients that an added bonus of winter pruning is that their plants will also look better through the winter months. Shrubs always look better when they are cleaned up.

Stick to species recommendations

Finally, our crews are also careful to stick to the recommended pruning tips for each plant species. For example, Nandina, which has cane-like growth, should be pruned by cutting the longest areas of growth back to ground level. 

Everything from how much of the plant is pruned to where the cuts should be made is often dictated by the species. We make sure that we are educated on all the best practices. Certain shrubs can also deal with a heavier prune than others. We also pay attention to the pruning tools recommended for each plant.

By keeping pruning tips in mind, we can help clients get great winter pruning results. 

Editor's Note: This article was written by Jack Moore, president and CEO of Grassperson Lawn & Landscape in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area

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