Joe's Garden Care - Landscape Images (1)

The Art of Pruning: When and How to Trim Your Trees and Shrubs

by: Joe McCole


As we move into autumn and winter, it’s an excellent time to start pruning your trees and shrubs. Pruning now will ensure that your greenery thrives come spring. If you’re a beginner gardener and pruning has you scratching your head, I’ve got you covered! Let’s jump in.

Why is Pruning Important?

Not only will pruning allow for new growth by removing dead and decaying leaves from your trees and shrubs, it will also prevent them from becoming a danger to you, your property and anyone passing by. Overgrown and out of control growth can ruin the aesthetics of your garden and promote pest infestations.

When is the Best Time?

The best time to prune is when your trees and shrubs are in a dormant state, which occurs in late autumn and winter; there are two reasons for this, the first is simply so you can see the structure of the branches, the second is that pruning now will promote healthy strong growth in the spring and summer months.

There are two main types of tree and shrub, deciduous and evergreen. Deciduous means any tree or shrub which loses all of its leaves at certain times of year, most commonly in autumn/winter. It’s best to prune deciduous species in late winter or early springtime. Evergreen trees and shrubs retain their leaves all year round and the best time to prune them is in winter or early spring whilst they are still dormant or in late June or July when new growth has had time to flourish.

What Tools Will You Need?

Pruning shears or loppers are the first choice for anyone tackling the pruning and you might also find long handled pruners designed to reach higher trees and shrubs useful. Hedging shears are also a good choice of tool for shrubs. Ensure your tools are sharp and always use the proper PPE when pruning including goggles, gloves and a hard hat if necessary.

How to Prune Trees and Shrubs

begin by removing any dead or dying growth from the tree or shrub, next remove any branches that are rubbing together and any stubs that are present. Also take a look at any overhanging branches that could be obscuring proper visibility, access or interfering with overhead wires and carefully remove the whole branch. Avoid topping the tree which is the practice of removing all large branches which will leave your tree with a stubby appearance and weak structure. Lastly, gently prune the tree or shrub to retain its shape.

Have you begun pruning the trees and shrubs in your garden yet? Whether you are a beginner gardener or a well-seasoned pro, pruning is an art and a science which any gardener can master to bring their landscape to life!