The Do’s & Don’ts About Winter Pruning

The winter season is the best time to prune away those plants and trees here in the Reno area. During this time, most plants and trees go to sleep (just like a bear) in order for them to be ready to bloom in the spring. The main reasons you should prune is to promote plant health, maintain plants, improve plant appearance and most importantly, to protect people and property.

Here are some tips on what to do and not do, while pruning your plants and trees.

DO use high-quality shears. If your shears are no longer cutting well, or are not strong enough to trim what you’re trying to trim, you could be damaging the tree or shrub. The size and strength of the shears should vary on what you are pruning.

DON’T go outside during a snow/rain storm to prune your trees. If you are a native Nevadan, you know that the weather during the fall/winter/spring season varies. Wait for a mild day where there is no threat of rain or snow, as the plant shouldn’t get wet immediately after being cut. 

DO cut the branches at the node which is the gardening term for the place where branches/twigs meet.

DON’T “top” a tree or shrub. Your plants and shrubs are getting trimmed; it’s just like you getting a haircut so you don’t want to chop everything off. Check out our example below to view what happens when you top a tree or shrub.


DON’T remove more than ¼’’ of the live foliage on all maple trees (including box elder), butternut and walnut trees, birch trees (including its relatives: ironwood and blue beach).

DO a little pruning when it comes to evergreens. Spruces, firs and douglas-firs don’t grow continuously but can be pruned any time, especially in the late winter before their growth begins. Pines don’t ever need pruning unless you want to them to grow more. Arborvitae, junipers, yews and hemlocks grow continuously throughout the growing season but it’s advised to prune to help correct growth defects.

To get an idea of when to prune what, check out the list below. If you should have any other questions or would like estimate call us at (775) 323-7488 or send us an e-mail at Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook at

SPRINGAlpine Currant, Barberry, Burning Bush, Buffaloberry, Dogwood, Honeysuckle, Ninebark, Peashrub, Purpleleaf Sandcherry, Smokebuch, Sumac

FALL/WINTERApricot, Azalea, Chokeberry, Chokecherry, Clove Currant, Flowering Plum/Cherry, Forsythia, Juneberry, Lilac, Magnolia, Early Blooming Spirea

Happy New Year – 2016 !!

One thought on “The Do’s & Don’ts About Winter Pruning

  1. Thanks for the advice on how to prune my trees for the winter. I had no idea that the plants shouldn’t get wet after being cut. It actually seems a lot more complicate to get just the right cut when trimming branches. I have a lot of big trees, so maybe it would be best to call a tree service for help.

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