Addition By Subtraction: It’s Dormant Pruning Time

Mar. 5th, 2015 by W Scott McAdam Jr.

Addition by subtraction. Whether it’s the Chicago Bears letting go of some personnel in the off-season or tidying up our junk drawer, we’re all familiar with the idea of letting go in order to move forward.

That same principle is at work when putting your trees and shrubs on a “diet” of dormant pruning. Doing so spurs on healthy plant growth come spring.

Typically, you can begin this process in mid-December and go until the middle of March. Without leaves, you are better positioned to see what should be removed. At the same time, wounds from the pruning cuts heal much more rapidly in dormant season, leaving less time for disease penetration.

Preventive pruning removes wood that is diseased, damaged or dead, as well as unwanted or problem limbs such as those that grow into a house or hang low over a sidewalk. 

Corrective pruning redirects the plant’s growth to establish a more natural and healthy growth habit.

Rejuvenation pruning is a more drastic approach in which the plant is cut back heavily to thin overgrown plants, to promote new, vigorous growth and to winnow the plant to a more manageable size.

Questions on this or any other landscaping topic? Call us to arrange a one-hour consultation!

This Ask the Plant Expert appeared as an advertorial in the February 11, 2015 edition of the Wednesday Journal, Forest Park Review & Riverside-Brookfield Landmark.