Once the chilling air starts blowing, the nights become longer, the days are shorter, and the lawn in the house turns bleak.

Winter season is the time for laying dormant. You disengage from social obligations and remain with your family, and the lawn also takes this time to remain dormant. 

Although it may appear that the lawn is completely in hibernation mode during this season, there is some activity going on underground.

Therefore, you need to take out your pruners and do some warm-up to start winter pruning for a thick garden throughout the year.

Importance of Pruning Trees in Winter 

An infographic on the importance of pruning trees in winter

The end of winter is the ideal time to prune. 

As we mentioned in our fall lawn care blog, winter is the perfect season to take any corrective measures to have a vibrant lawn.

You can start when the leaves are starting to fall instead of waiting for the spring season.

Here are a few reasons why pruning trees in winter is important

  • The plants will endure less stress because they are engaged in activities that consume most of their energy
  • There are also fewer hazardous organisms around
  • Trees heal more quickly when you prune them in winter
  • It also prevents winter damage, as the trees and plants are dormant at this time
  • Lowers the chance of disease or parasite attack

So, if you want to prune your trees, then winter can prove to be the best time. Once you do, the plants and trees will bloom beautifully in spring.

Tools You Can Use For Winter Pruning 

Winter pruning tools lying on grass

Shears, loppers, and pruning saws are examples of manual pruning instruments that can be used for winter pruning. 

If the branches you need to cut are high up, you can use a manual telescopic tool, like a pole saw or lopper, to work from ground level comfortably.

A dry, sunny day is the best time for pruning trees in winter. 

That will be enjoyable for you as a caretaker of your lawn. As a bonus, it lessens the likelihood of cold-weather damage or the development of plant diseases that spread by watering. So it’s a win-win situation for all.

If you are relatively new as a gardener, you can read our detailed blog on lawn care schedule for a good start.

Plants Winter Pruning is Not Suitable For

Some trees, such as dogwood, magnolia, redbud, cherry, and pear, bloom in the spring. 

Pruning these trees in winter will remove the buds if you don’t want them to sprout in spring.

Or else, just like with shrubs that bloom in the spring. Cut these trees as soon as the flowers fall off.

Although winter pruning is beneficial, don’t commence too early in the winter, as cold temperatures can cause wounds to dry out. 

Before pruning, remove any dead or diseased branches, particularly those resulting from the snow and ice. 

All evergreen trees and bushes that have any unwanted lower branches can be cut in late winter.

To improve the light and air exposure, trim off smaller, overgrown branches.

When pruning trees in winter, keeping the branches that grow or preserve the tree’s structure should be the purpose.

Trim branches at the node, which is the junction of a branch or twig.

Read More: Dead Grass Solution: How to Revive Dead Grass

How to Perform Winter Pruning 

A man showing how to perform pruning in winter on an orange tree

Winter pruning on a dead, diseased, dying, or injured plant is safe for the lawn. 

If you leave the branches with the disorders discussed above, the plant experiences increased stress. 

With winter pruning, the plant can focus its energy on mending.

When you follow the branches’ natural lines toward the end, ensure that you don’t harm the plant’s natural structure and flow as it grows from the base or trunk.

The Appropriate Method For Pruning Trees in Winter

Here are the two categories of winter pruning cuts you can go for:

To strengthen a branch and increase the number of minor offshoots on it, a heading cut entails chopping off a portion of the branch. The purpose of a heading cut is to encourage fresh growth.

A thinning cut eliminates a branch at its source, which may be the main stem, a branch off to the side, or even the ground. New growth will not occur with a thinning cut.

Whenever branches connect stems, make clean cuts.

Cut at 45-degree angles in the direction you want branches to grow in future to promote future growth.

As you work, take a step back and check that everything seems balanced. 

It is always better to prune in the natural direction of the plant.

Trees, plants, and shrubs that are kept up properly look better and healthier. They produce more foliage, fruits, and blooms after a total shutdown in winter. 

We understand that cutting back your plants may seem terrifying, but the reward will make it all worth it.

In the next spring, your backyard will light up your property.

So, as the winter has already started, start putting up your plan now!

If you don’t have the skill and time to prune trees in winter, reach out to a professional before it’s too late.


How to avoid disease with winter pruning?

You can prevent disease by thinning the canopy from the center and cutting towards the outer part. 

Which shrubs can I prune in winter?

Clematis, dogwoods, hydrangeas, summersweet, and roses should be pruned in late winter.

Why should winter pruning be done above the bud?

Cutting a branch below the bud gives rise to sucker-type growth and ruins the shape of the plant.

How do you disinfect the tools used for winter pruning?

Take a 10% solution of rubbing alcohol and water. This will make sure that the disease doesn’t spread as you continue winter pruning from one plant to another.


Winter pruning is a physical challenge which may not be easy for people to carry out alone.

That’s why you need support and assistance for it. On that note, you can reach out to Falcons Landscaping. 

From removing sod, overseeding, and maintenance, our hands-on specialists provide a full package to preserve the beauty of your lawn.