When it’s wintertime and very cold out, we know it can be difficult at times to find the motivation to work outside in the garden. But despite the chilly and uninviting weather, there are some things on your winter gardening to-do list that really should be done before spring comes. Pruning your trees and shrubs especially take priority in the winter months, as the absence of leaves and foliage make it much easier to see where to make the right cuts and trims. In fact, there are many types of trees and shrubs that require pruning back in the winter while they are dormant, such as wisteria.
Below is an easy step-by-step guide from HGTV Gardens for how to prune deciduous trees (meaning they shed their leaves annually) effectively:
From: HGTV Gardens
Step 1: Look for Awkward Stems
When the leaves of a deciduous tree have fallen, take a look at its overall shape. Look for stems that are badly placed, or those growing too far down the trunk. This tree has an awkward stem growing from the base that must be removed. First, remove any dead and damaged wood. Then use a pruning saw to make a straight cut through any branches growing from the base of the tree.
Step 2: Thin Stems
Prune thin stems with loppers or pruners, taking them back to 1⁄2 in (2 cm) from the ring of slight swelling where the stem and trunk meet, known as the branch collar.
Step 3: Cut Thick Branches
Thick branches, and those that are likely to tear, are cut in stages. First, cut under the stem, a short distance from the trunk. Cut about a quarter of the way through the underside of the branch.
Step 4: Make a Second Cut
Make a second cut above the lower one, and aim to join the two. Be sure your tools are sharp to prevent snagging.
Step 5: Branches May Snap
Even if you have taken great care, a heavy branch may still snap off, but it doesn’t matter at this point, since this is not the final cut. Don’t worry if the cut snags as it falls away.
Step 6: Remove Stub
Remove the stub by using the technique outlined in steps 3 and 4. Make your final cut just slightly away from the branch collar.