Just because the leaves are on the ground and the snow is falling, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy one of your favorite pastimes: gardening.

Many Michiganders mistakenly assume that because temperatures are below freezing their yardwork is done until Spring, however, that's not necessarily the case!

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Kevin Sayers, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry program leader says,

The best time to prune most trees is in late Winter to early Spring before growth starts...That’s January to March in Michigan

It's time to start planning ahead!

What is Pruning?

According to the Michigan DNR pruning is more than just chopping off old, overgrown parts of your trees and shrubs. In fact, pruning is an important technique that helps improve the overall health and vitality of your greenery.

By removing the sick or damaged parts of your trees you can ensure their longevity and stimulate future growth and fruit production-- but don't start just whacking away willy nilly!

How to Prune

First, you'll want to make sure have the right equipment which includes pruning shears, long-handled loppers, and a pruning saw. It's also important to research the type of plant you plan to prune as different species require different degrees of pruning.

The Michigan DNR suggests that you:

  • Observe your tree, notice what needs to be cut and what doesn't
  • Begin pruning by cutting off diseased, dead, or broken branches
  • Cut any branches that may grow or rub together
  • Work around the tree to ensure your pruning doesn't make it lopsided
  • Trim off low-hanging branches
  • Remove heavy or long limbs
  • Know when to call in professionals
  • Remember, less is more

Winter makes the perfect time to prune your trees and shrubs as they are dormant. With no sap flowing this minimizes the after-effects and trauma of pruning. It's also a good reason to get outdoors and enjoy the crisp, fresh air!

Find the Michigan DNR's complete guide to winter pruning here.

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