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Pruning branch on small tree

January Garden Tasks

Pruners trimming a branch on small tree

It's Time To Prune

Winter provides gardeners the chance to reflect, recharge and plan new projects for the coming year. It's much easier to visualize and plan for seasons ahead while our gardens are fairly bare, making January perfect for pruning!
We frequently receive pruning questions from local gardeners. What should be pruned now? Why should we prune? How much should we prune? Should every plant get pruned in winter? (Hint: No.) It can be intimidating at first, but our garden gurus are here to help.

Winter pruning is for dormant plants because they can take a significant amount of pruning without going into shock. Roses, vines and stone fruits (except cherries and apricots) are especially well-suited to dormant pruning.

There are many reasons to prune your plants:
  • Removing dead, diseased and damaged branches allows the plant to focus all of its energy on the good wood left behind.
  • Pruning keeps your plants at a manageable size.
  • Pruning opens up the plant, increasing air flow to reduce diseases, removes insect pests and disease-breeding spots, and allows more sun into the canopy. The fruits and flowers that are produced on a pruned plant are healthier, larger and more abundant.
How much should be pruned off in the dormant season? Each plant is different, but the benefit of dormant pruning is that dormant pruning is when you get to prune the most. When a plant is “awake” (fully leafed out), it's best to prune a limited amount, or the plant will be at risk for shock.

Plants that are not dormant, like citrus, should not be pruned in winter. Also resist the urge to prune away any freeze-damaged parts of plants; save that for early spring, when you prune non-dormant plants.

Our gurus are available to help you with all of your questions to grow your green thumb. We have the information and advice that will keep your garden thriving.

Other Tasks For January

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