Is Your Garden Looking SAD?

Written by Peter J. Kikot, Sr. Landscape Designer/Sales Manager | 1/26/14   

So, your garden tools have all been cleaned and are safely tucked away in the shed; winter has arrived and now the snow is falling. The gardening season is finally over.  Or is it? 

The dormant (no active growth) season for your garden is actually one of the best times of the year to get a good look at your ever changing landscape.  Winter Pruning, otherwise known as Dormant Pruning, can greatly improve the health of your ornamental trees and shrubs.

A little time spent in the garden now will greatly benefit the overall health and look of your garden when the new season starts. One of the best times of the year to get familiar with the needs of your yard is when the leaves on your trees and shrubs have fallen giving you a clearer picture of your ever changing landscape.

Winter_Pruning_PicPruning now, instead of in the summer when most pruning occurs, is less stressful on your plants and reduces the spread of disease.  You want to start by removing any obvious dead or broken branches, any diseased wood from the plant and any crossing branches that may be rubbing against other branches which can cause a wound and invite disease into the plant. 

This immediately improves air circulation through the plant removing the possibility of future fungal disease settling in.


When you make your cut you want to make sure that it is flush to the stem/trunk of the tree or just above (1”) another bud or stem to help reduce the infiltration of insects and disease that can harm the materials.  Pruning during the dormant season tends to result in more vigorous growth the following spring as the stored energy of the plant is distributed resulting in more dynamic growth. Multi-stemmed shrubs are often improved by removing a number of old stems which promotes new growth and encourages more flowering and fruiting.

There are however, exceptions to those rules.  Spring flowering materials may have already produced their buds and lay dormant until the spring pushes them out.  Pruning these plants (such as Hydrangea and Rhododendrons), can cause significant harm and result in the loss of flowers and new growth when spring arrives, so be sure to pay close attention to the materials that you will be pruning.

Additionally, certain tree varieties should only be pruned in the winter to avoid bacterial infections that are more likely to do harm during summer pruning. Call us for a free consultation to identify the right plants to prune and to discuss the nuances of your beautifully designed garden.

Winter - The Best time to Evaluate your Landscape Design

The winter season is also a perfect time to review the areas of your landscape that need updating as well as the more problematic areas that need renovation.  You may notice an area collecting water or an evergreen that no longer provides you with the privacy screen that it once did.  Perhaps a section of your patio is uneven or the old driveway or front walkway is just not wide enough to suit your evolving lifestyle.

You may also notice that an area of your garden has become outdated or overgrown.  A little time spent on your garden this winter guarantees that your landscape will remain vibrant all summer long. 

Call or email for a no obligation free consultation today
and give your garden a head start this Spring!


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