Pruning trees and shruberry

Asked February 15, 2017, 12:24 PM EST

Will I harm plants by pruning in late winter?

Arapahoe County Colorado trees and shrubs pruning trees

1 Response

For deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in the winter) removal of dead, diseased, and damaged wood can be done any time of year if needed. More extensive pruning in late winter/early spring before new growth emerges is the best time to prune many trees. There are some trees that will ‘bleed’ sap if pruned in late winter/early spring. Although it tends to be unsightly, these trees can be pruned in late winter/early spring or later during mid-summer months: birch, locust, elms, maple, mulberry, poplar, walnut.

Most evergreen trees and shrubs need no pruning. If pruning is required, they are pruned according to species growth characteristics.

Fruit trees are pruned in late winter/early spring to: 1) remove dead or broken branches, 2) remove diseased growth or branches that rub against other parts of the tree, 3) thin the tree to allow sunlight to reach the interior of the tree and 4) prune for desired shape.

Shrubs are pruned at different times of the year depending on if they are spring flowering or summer flowering.

Not knowing what you have in your landscape, it's difficult to answer your question exactly. Below are some links that will help you decide when to prune what in your landscape.

Pruning trees:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1724.html

Pruning evergreens:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/617.pdf

Pruning fruit trees:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1210.html

Pruning flowering shrubs:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/616.pdf

Finally, for help with many yard and garden questions, see this link:

http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/