Making Sense of Late Winter Pruning

Taking care of your landscape is a year-round commitment that will require some effort even during the dormant winter period. Some care techniques, such as using a safe ice melt during snow events, are relatively indirect and aim to protect the dormant landscape from developing problems that won’t turn up until the growing period begins. Others, like late winter pruning, are more active measures that directly affect the plants. But pruning in the late winter should only be done under specific circumstances. It’s worth examining in greater detail so you can be prepared to prune around the beginning of March.

The Purpose of Pruning

In general, pruning has a practical and aesthetic purpose. Pruning plants allows us to reshape a plant and reduce its size if it is overgrown. This helps the plant blend in better with the surrounding landscape and helps it look beautiful. On a practical note, pruning removes dead or diseased branches in order to keep the plant as a whole healthy.

Pruning can occur any time of the year, but late winter pruning can revitalize late-blooming plants by allowing enough time for wounds to heal before the growing period.

Types of Plants Suitable for Late Winter Pruning

There are a few plants that will benefit from a late winter prune this March. Here’s a short list of some of the most popular plants dotting local landscapes that could use it.

  • Trees that flower in the summer – Crape myrtles, smoke trees, vitex, rose of Sharon, and other trees that mainly serve ornamental purposes.
  • Fruit trees – Although fruit trees flower on top of growth from last season, late winter pruning promotes fruit growth. Different fruit trees have different pruning guidelines so consult an expert for more information.
  • Roses – Prune before leaf buds break or after removing any winter protection measures.

What Not to Prune this Winter

Not every plant benefits from a prune in the late winter, however. Plants and trees that flower in the spring, for instance, should be pruned right after they flower or once they’ve finished flowering. And you should wait until the summer to prune any trees that can produce a lot of sap, such as maple and birch trees.


If you have a unique, personal landscaping project in mind, contact TDH Landscaping. We will work with you to combine your vision with our renowned expertise and experience to make it happen. We have been in business for over fifty years, and our goal is to give every landscape a curated touch while offering the knowledge to keep your residential outdoor area beautiful all year long. Give us a call today at 410-692-0050, send us an email at, or fill out our contact form here to get the process started. Keep up with our blog for more updates and helpful tips, and don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestYoutube, and Houzz!

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