Winter Tips

Why Winter is the Best Time to Prune

by El Queso Grande

Bermuda shorts on a warm blue-sky Saturday in Boulder, Colorado; a perfectly chilled Arnold Palmer by my side; my razor sharp pruners freshly purchased from a green vested man at Mcguckins. It’s time to show my shrubs and trees a little love!    

Cut! Stop! Hold it right there! Don’t be lured in the wrong direction by your latest gardening fantasy!  

Sure, it’s more comfy for YOU to tackle this task in July – in shorts – holding an icy beverage. But your trees and shrubs prefer it now. Put those Lululemon Warm Merino Wool joggers back on and exchange that Arnold Palmer for a skinny mocha latte with an orange twist. It’s winter here in Boulder, Colorado, and now (January through February), is the very best time to prune your deciduous trees and shrubs.

Your trees and shrubs will reap the benefits of winter pruning if it’s tackled before any hint of spring. Do it too early, when your trees and shrubs aren’t yet dormant, pruning is more likely to invite insects and disease. Prune too late, in Spring, and you could nip off fresh buds and prevent flowering.

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6 reasons to prune during the months when a Mocha Latte is better than an Arnold Palmer…


#1: Trees and Shrubs are Dormant Now

Imagine you are a bright eyed, energetic tree peacefully minding your own business when an over enthusiastic gardener with Bermuda shorts and an Arnold Palmer advances toward you with razor sharp laupers! Would it not be better for this to occur at a time when you are dormant and numb? 

In Winter, your deciduous trees and shrubs are dormant. You’ll do less damage now when you prune, shape and thin your deciduous plants. Fresh pruning cuts you make heal faster during the dormant season and are less likely to attract insects, which can carry diseases.

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# 2: See What You’re Doing

When you go to the doctor for a physical do you keep all your clothes on? Probably not!  But because trees don’t seem to respond to us when we ask them to drop their trousers, the best time to get after it is when they drop their own trousers and take a winter’s nap. They won’t even notice they had a physical!

Bottom line… when leaves are out of the way, it’s a lot easier to really inspect the branches to see what’s going on in there.

#3: Prevent Collateral Damage

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Collateral Damage is not only a vintage 2002 Hollywood action thriller film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s something that can result from a lack of winter pruning.

Heavy spring snows are coming, and so are some powerful Chinook winds. Pruning out diseased or broken branches now will help prevent heavy snow and winds from toppling branches to the ground later, potentially harming people or property. 

# 4: Promote Healthy Structure

Pruning also helps direct growth in a healthy way and helps control the size of a tree or shrub. Start with a young tree, and pruning helps it develop a strong structure and attractive form.

Pro Tip: Start early and your tree will need less corrective pruning as it matures.

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# 5: Encourage Healthy Growth

Proper pruning promotes healthy new growth. Shoots or suckers that have sprouted can be nipped before they grow out of control.

# 6: Help Them Live Longer

Pruning makes a plant stronger, enabling trees and shrubs to stand up to storms, high wind, ice and snow. Pruning also improves a tree’s air circulation too, which keeps diseases from striking.

Live your best life outside   

Live your best life outside by letting the experienced and professional team at Native Edge Landscapes tackle your landscape needs for you. Pruning can be a bit tricky and intimidating. And without the proper tools and “know how”, simple mistakes can result in costly damage to landscape investment. Native Edge’s professionally trained staff knows exactly what your trees and shrubs need — not just in the winter, but all year long. 

Located in Boulder Colorado, Native Edge Landscapes provides year round Landscape Design-build & Landcare services to single family residences as well as HOA, Retirement, Mixed Use Communities. To learn more or to talk with a landscape professional call 303-245-9166, or visit us online at www.nativeedgelandscapes.com

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