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Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

Your Guide to Winter Pruning

Improve the structure, health, and performance of your trees and shrubs through strategic cuts

Crossed branches should be removed from trees and shrubs. Photo: Michele Christiano

February is a wonderful time to get out into the garden and prune trees and shrubs for performance and aesthetics. There are several other reasons to prune in winter, such as removing dead wood, shaping a tree or shrub while its frame is still visible before leaves emerge, or keeping the plant healthy.

Prune dead wood and foliage

Damaged foliage
Damaged foliage on evergreens can be pruned now. Photo: Jennifer Benner

Diseased or dead wood can be removed from any tree or shrub at this time. Winter is a great time to do so, as the foliage is not in the way. Prune the dead wood at a point where the branch meets a larger branch or stem. If the branch is partially dead or diseased, it is best to prune the entire branch. Old stems on a multistemmed shrub should be removed at the base of the plant. Evergreens, such as…

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