Prune and Groom - How To Make Your Shrubs Stand Out

Sharpen your pruners and get ready to groom! Keeping your plants looking fresh is an important aspect to upholding your garden’s happy and healthy appearance. It’s not only important to cut back any wayward branches, but also to groom the plants to your liking. Are you trying to shape them a certain way? Do you want to control the size of the plant? These reasons and more are great inspirations to get out in the garden to prune your landscape’s trees and shrubs.



Although you may be inspired to give your plants a new hairdo, you may think: “Why am I doing this in the first place?” Winter pruning can rejuvenate your garden for the upcoming spring and summer growing seasons. Regularly pruning in the winter helps remove dead and diseased growth as well as provides your plants with the boost they need to ensure robust spring growth. If you need a more visual refresher on winter pruning, check out Mike, the Garden Guru’s video here for more information. 



Winter pruning starts now in late January, all the way into early March. Pruning too early or late into the season can cause growth issues for your plants when they are needing to grow the most, so it is important to stay on schedule! While it is best to prune certain types of trees and shrubs during the warmer months, winter is the optimum pruning time for many deciduous trees and shrubs because they are dormant at this time. Throughout the year, you may need to remove broken or damaged branches or even disease-affected parts of your plants, but winter is the time to take care of large pruning and shaping projects as well as general maintenance for these plants.



While we now know that pruning is great for the health of our plants, we want them to look great. Here are some of our best tips for grooming your plants for their most fabulous debut: 

• Have the Right Equipment -

Making sure that you are using the right tools is important to the success of winter pruning. Different sheers have different purposes, so like a salon stylist, you will want the best tool for the best effect. 

  • Hand Pruning Shears: use on branches up to 3/4-inch diameter.
  • Lopping Shears: use on thicknesses 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches or branches out of reach with hand shears.
  • Crescent Pruning Saw: used for heavier work.
  • Hedge Clippers: used for shaping and shearing shrubs and hedges.
  • Pole Pruners: used to cut out-of-reach branches up to 2-inches in diameter.

• Craft a Vision -

For long-term projects like topiaries and bonsai, a vision and a plan for your winter prunings will need to be crafted in advance. Whether you are working on something for 1 year or 20 years, it is always great to have a plan in place to work off of. Whether that is a drawing or researching what kind of pruning shapes would work best for your project, the choice is yours. If you are looking for some assistance on long-term landscaping, check out our landscape design and installation division here.  

• Keep it up! -

A part of what helps our plants flourish is to keep up the pruning process over the year. Try not to forget that your garden needs you all year-round. If remembering is hard to do, (as it is for most of us) sign up for our emails as a gardenRewards member to get a monthly garden planning calendar with all the tips and reminders you need to keep gardening throughout the year.