Not many people are thinking of their landscapes during these winter months. However, it is a great time of year to actually do some things in your landscape that will make everything look better during the growing season. Pruning of your trees and shrubs is one thing that can really improve the overall appearance as well as the long term health of your plants. Structural pruning of your ornamental trees is actually better to do in the winter when the foliage is not on the tree. It allows you to see the branching so you can remove weak or rubbing branches as well as dead or dying wood.
Shrubs can also be shaped, structurally pruned and reduced in size if necessary. All of this can be done during the winter months prior to spring growth. For evergreens a rejuvenation pruning can be done in late winter, early spring, and can actually improve the overall appearance and fullness.
Perennials, in my opinion, add some interest to the landscape when they are left standing as they go into dormancy. They provide food and cover for birds, rabbits and other wildlife throughout the winter. Grasses are particularly interesting through the winter. Their form, how they flow in the wind, and the contrast of the plant when it snows add to the overall look of your landscape. With that being said, as we go through the winter, perennials and grasses get beaten down by the snow and other elements and at some point can be cut back closer to the ground.
Certainly in the spring most all perennials should be cut back before their new growth get’s going. It helps make way for the new growth and removing the dead, or spent, foliage can also help reduce disease. Proper pruning can really make a difference in the way your landscape looks and its overall health.By pruning in the winter months it can also reduce your workload during some of the busiest parts of the season.