December 7, 2012

Cleveland Landscaping Tips: Dormant Plant Pruning

Dormant PlantMost often people think that with the arrival of winter comes the arrival of ignoring our Cleveland Landscape. Certainly you no longer need to cut the grass and water the flowers, but winter actually happens to be the best time, well only time, for dormant pruning.  Although most people don’t know what dormant pruning is, it is actually one of the most effective ways to prune your landscape.

What is Dormant Pruning? 

Dormant pruning is comprised of three parts:

  • Corrective Pruning:  This redirects growth to achieve a desired shape and a more natural-looking plant
  • Preventative pruning:  This removes dead, diseased or damaged plant material as well as problematic branches that may hang over walkways or grow into buildings or homes
  • Rejuvenating pruning:  Cuts back heavy growth and thins crowded older plants to encourage new growth

Why Do We Dormant Prune?

  • Maintain a plants size in a limited space
  • Revitalize older, woody plants
  • Improve the natural branching characteristics of the plant
  • A plant pruned during dormancy becomes healthier in the spring as the plant’s energy is directed to its fewer remaining branches which are supported by the same root mass
  • In the wintertime, there are no diseases, insects, or leaking plant fluids which can be problematic by infecting, infesting, or otherwise plaguing any pruning cuts
  • Without foliage it’s easier to see the area which needs pruned
  • When severely reducing the size of a plant, you often are left with a bush that looks like twigs.  This is less unsightly in the wintertime

When Should We Dormant Prune?

  • Late January through early March when the plant is inactive and fresh wounds are exposed for a shorter period of time. 
If you have questions about dormant pruning this winter. Please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.
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Photo Credit: Joopey 


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