Late winter is a good time for pruning in many regions. Here are some tips and a list of common shrubs and trees to prune in late winter or early spring.
Pruning deciduous plants in the winter promotes fast regrowth in the spring, as most plants are dormant during the winter. It’s also easier to see the shape of deciduous plants in the winter, since their foliage is gone.
- Prune on a mild, dry day.
- When pruning, first prune out dead and diseased branches.
- Then remove the overgrown and smaller branches to increase light and air at the crown of the tree.
- In general, your goal is to keep the branches that develop or maintain the structure of the tree.
- Cut branches at the node, the point at which one branch or twig attaches to another.
|Abelia||Autumn to early spring||Maintain a graceful arching form by cutting away some of the oldest stems at ground level. Pinch growing shoots in spring if you want bushier growth.|
|Azalea||Late winter or during the growing season||Before growth begins for the season, improve the form of the bush by shortening stems that jut out of place. During the growing season, pinch growing shoot tips where you want bushier growth.|
|Butterfly bush||Late winter||Cut all stems to the ground.|
|Chaste tree||Late winter or early spring||Evergreen species need little pruning beyond cutting out weak, twiggy, dead, or broken branches.|
|Crape myrtle||Late winter||Wherever the plant is not totally winter-hardy, cut off winter-killed wood or cut the whole plant to the ground. Little pruning is needed where this plant is cold-hardy.|
|Hydrangea||Mostly late winter||For smooth hydrangea, cut all stems to the ground. For bigleaf or oakleaf hydrangea, cut stems with old flowers still attached back to fat flower buds.|
|Smoke bush||Late winter or early spring, before growth begins||Needs little pruning unless you grow it for its purple leaves rather than for its flowers. In this case, prune severely to stimulate vigorous new growth each spring.|