“Winter pruning” is the first article in our 2019 Lawn & Garden Preparation Guide. Up next, we’ll talk about the climate zone here in Virginia, what to plant in early spring, and how to clean up your post-winter yard before the fair weather arrives. Be sure to subscribe to our monthly posts to keep up with the full series!
Why Should You Prune Your Plants?
It may seem counter-intuitive to hurt your plants to make them better but, for many woody plants, careful pruning improves both its health and appearance. Pruning is all about removing the parts of the plant that are non-essential its primary purpose. This frees the tree or shrub to allocate its nutrients into more essential areas, whether that be the root system, a taller trunk or more flowers and fruit.
Dead, dying and diseased sections of a tree or shrub can take nutrients away from the healthier sections of the tree. Removing these stems and branches stops the plant from wasting any more resources on lost causes. But pruning for health can be more extensive than that. Even without any visible issues, pruning unnecessary sprouts can improve the health of the tree as it devotes more energy to extending its root system, growing taller, and supporting bigger branches.
Small Plant Pruning Tools
A secondary reason to engage in pruning is for the look of the plant. You may want to prune a tree that is dead set on producing branches over the roof of your house or you maybe your hedges are overgrown. You may also want to encourage flower or fruit production so you can enjoy a prettier or tastier tree. These are all valid reason to prune so long as you support the overall health of the plant.
When Is Best For Pruning?
These early winter months can be a great time to set out your goals for your lawn and garden. And while pruning advice can range from species to species, late winter months can be ideal pruning time for some woody plants. For additional advice, look at Better Homes & Gardens’ list of what to prune when.
Large Plant Pruning Tools
Preparing for Spring
Plants follow a growing cycle in lockstep with the seasons. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and go dormant until the dawn of spring. For plants that keep their leaves, the short days and cold conditions slow their metabolism. Once spring does arrive, there will be a flurry of growth as they breathe in the fresh sunshine.
In preparation for this oncoming onslaught of growth, it is important to ensure that all your plants are prepared appropriately. Pruning encourages a spurt of growth in the remaining branches and gives your pruned plants an advantage over other plants that are still devoting energy to their dead limbs.
Avoid Fall and Early Winter
Fall and early winter can be a vulnerable time for plants with frost and invading insects. Pruning in the fall opens wounds during a time when the tree or shrub is more susceptible to these threats. Once spring is in full swing, pruning is not advisable either.
Pruning Tools Replacement Parts
- Pole Pruner Replacement Blade
- Pruning Saw Replacement Blade
Getting Started This Year
When you prune, you should start with removing the dead and diseased branches first. Be careful to cut into only the branch that you want to remove without affecting the parent or sister branch. If you cut too deep, you will damage the parent or sister branch possibly permanently. After the worst bits are removed, you should have a clearer view of to begin trimming for aesthetic or specific growth objectives.
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