There are several reasons why winter is the best time to prune your shrubs and bushes. During cold weather, the sap flow slows down considerably, which prevents excessive bleeding. Also, on deciduous varieties, the shape of the shrub is easier to see and modify when all the leaves have fallen off, and there are fewer trimmings to clean up from the ground. The main reason, however, is to prepare the branches for new spring growth. The shrub experts at Heritage have put together this list of pruning tips to make your bushes look their best.
Do a Little Research First
It’s important to know the habits of each variety of shrub before you start cutting off branches. Some flowering bushes form the blossom buds very early; and so, by pruning limbs you may be removing buds you’ll want next spring. Other varieties, such as the butterfly bush, only bloom on new growth, so trimming is a must to get lots of blooms come spring.
Related Read: How to Water Your Evergreens during the Winter
Use Sharp Trimmers
Always use sharp tools when pruning your plants to avoid causing unnecessary damage to the bark and branches. Dull trimming tools will crush the fibers and strip off tender bark, damaging the plant and leaving an unsightly mess.
Remove Dead Branches First
Dead branches need to be removed regardless of the end shape you desire. You may think that it will be difficult to tell which are living and which are not since the leaves are no longer present to indicate growth, but dead branches can be recognized by their lighter hue and flakey bark. Cut off all of the lifeless branches. If you have doubts, you can always try to break the tip of a twig and see if any greenness is present.
Related Read: Guidelines for Winter Pruning
Shape to Protect
As you begin trimming, round the top of your shrub to prevent snow from piling up on it during the winter; the weight of a heavy snowfall could cause damage. Flat-topped shrubs can gather more snow and weight than their branches are able to support causing broken shrubs come spring. Pay attention during snowfalls as it may be necessary, regardless of how you trim it, to gently shake the branches periodically if you see snow starting to accumulate in large amounts.
After you finish all of the clipping, cutting, and chopping, go get a cup of hot chocolate and wait for spring; your shrubs are going to burst with new life, thanks to these simple tips.
If you have any further questions about pruning your plants, contact us, the tree and shrub experts at Heritage Lawns or call us at (913) 451-4664.