The Kindest Cut: Pruning in the Winter

 Winter is the best time to prune. Especially if some of your trees have gone a few years without being pruned and will require that a lot of wood be removed. When plants are dormant, they are better able to cope with removing a lot of branches when properly shaping and thinning out a tree or large growing shrub.


For most of Santa Fe County, the pruning season begins in late December and extends through the end of February or mid-March. Trees and large shrubs should be dormant when heavily pruned. And dormancy is affected by temperatures; a mild winter brings them out of dormancy earlier. A cold, snowy winter delays dormancy. Hopefully this year we’ll have a long pruning season!


What to Prune

Shade trees, flowering trees, fruit trees, grapes, Butterfly Bush (but not the spring blooming Buddleia alternifolia), flowering vines (except Wisteria which should be pruned after blooming).


What not to Prune

Spring flowering shrubs like Lilacs, Snowball Bush (Viburnam), Spirea, Mahonia, Mock Orange (Philadelphus) and roses.  Wait until early May to prune roses. They will be in leaf and actively growing, but that’s OK for roses.

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