Winter Pruning

Why prune?

  • Maintain shape – hedge or topiary.
  • Reduce height.
  • Increase productivity – fruiting.
  • Maintain plant/tree health by removing dead or diseased wood.
  • Encourage new bushy growth and flowering.
  • To remove possible suckers or suckering rootstock growth.
  • Remove spent canes or old seasons growth.
  • Thin a tree canopy.


Right tool for the right job. Choice of tool will depend on the size of the diameter of the branches you are wishing to cut, or the type of plant and pruning to be administered.

Make sure your tools are clean and well sharpened. Dirty tools can spread disease. Tools that are blunt won’t cut effectively and will cause tissue damage. This will then allow disease to enter the plants system.

Secateurs, loppers, hedge trimmers, hedging shears, pruning saw, chainsaw.

  • Winter PruningKeep in mind when purchasing that you often get what you pay for. Good quality, more expensive tools can last you a lifetime and longer.
  • There are also extension poles you can buy for tools such as pruning saws. This makes those too high to reach branches a breeze to cut.

Always wear safety gear: safety glasses, gloves, long sleeved shirt.

What to prune in winter?

  • Roses: all varieties
  • Deciduous fruiting trees; apples, quinces and pears, stone fruit, figs, grapes, kiwi fruit.
  • Deciduous flowering ornamentals

Pruning at other times

  • Prune as required is my moto for a lot of ornamental plants and trees – especially in warm climatic zones where growth never seems to slow.
  • Prune after flowering and fruit harvest to encourage new growth for the following season.

** Note: A lot of the deciduous ornamentals and fruiting trees will flower very early spring, so your pruning of these needs to be done after flowering in summer, or at the latest very early winter. If you prune them late winter, you will be pruning off the flowering growth and will miss out on flowers and fruit.

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