In many regions, late winter is an excellent time for tree pruning. Lack of foliage makes it easier to prune deciduous trees and pruning trees while dormant promotes good growth later on. Read on to find out which plants should and should not be pruned at this time of year.

Tips for winter tree pruning

  • Prune on a mild, dry day. This will limit the chance of rot or other problems.
  • Start by pruning away dead and diseased branches
  • Next, focus on small and overgrown branches. This will make your tree appear healthier, and less wild
  • Do not prune any branches that are vital to maintaining the structure of the tree

Which plants do I prune?

Not all plants should be pruned during winter. Some will develop better if pruned during spring. These plants, however, should receive your attention during the colder months:

  • Abelias: This deciduous tree produces beautiful bell-shaped flowers in the spring. It can be pruned at any time from late Autumn to early Spring. Cut away older stems at ground level to maintain an elegant form.
  • Azaleas: Azaleas are best pruned during late winter. Shorten out of place shoots before the growing season to make the most of this gorgeous flowering shrub.
  • Butterfly Bush: Also known as Buddleja, the Butterfly Bush should be pruned thoroughly during late winter by cutting all stems to the ground.
  • Chaste Tree: The Chaste Tree doesn’t require much pruning as an evergreen species, but take the opportunity during late winter to remove weak, dead, or broken branches.
  • Crape Myrtle: During late winter, remove any non-winter-hardy wood. If the Myrtle has weathered the season well, you won’t need to do much pruning.
  • Hydrangea: Hydrangeas are pruned during late winter, but how you do it depends on the variety. Cut all stems to the ground when dealing with smooth Hydrangea. For bigleaf or oakleaf hydrangea, cut stems with old flowers still attached.
  • Smoke Bush: Prune during late winter. The Smoke Bush does not require much pruning.

What Shouldn’t I Prune During the Winter?

Alpine Currant, Barberry, Burning Bush, Buffaloberry, Dogwood, Honeysuckle, Ninebark, Peashrub, Purpleleaf Sandcherry, Smokebush, and Sumac should be pruned during Spring, not winter. In general, Spring-flowering trees and shrubs should not be pruned until Spring.


Still not sure when to Prune? Don’t worry! A-1 Tree Service & Stump Removal can answer your questions. Contact us to find out more about winter tree pruning.