It takes a little effort to help your landscape ease into the fall and winter. Hopefully you’ve already winterized your irrigation system or scheduled your sprinkler blowout. If not, take a minute today to get it done or get on a professional’s calendar before they book up. Then, turn your focus to preparing trees for winter.
Ideally, you should try to prune your trees when they have gone dormant. Pruning shade trees helps them better handle the snowfall and strong winds of winter storms—especially if you have dead or damaged branches hanging around from previous storms. Take care of them before they become a hazard to people or property.
Once your trees have gone dormant, it’s a good time to prune suckers and water sprouts. For branches that you can’t easily reach from the ground, ask for help. If you don’t have proper safety gear to protect yourself or can’t prune while standing with both feet on the ground, it’s time to call in a pro. Tree pros have the equipment and the expertise to do the job properly.
One exception: Do not prune any spring-flowering trees, shrubs or perennials just yet—late winter or early spring is best for plants like fruit trees or lilacs.
Keep in mind that you are preparing your trees for winter, but that doesn’t mean you can completely stop caring for them when the cold sets in. They still need moisture. If the temperatures are above freezing, you can—and should—safely water your trees and shrubs.