Winter pruning is done on various trees and shrubs to ensure that dead, damaged, and diseased branches are removed, which encourages correct plant shape and overall development.

Most people think trimming or pruning is done only during the spring or fall, but that's not always the case. For example, in McMurray, Pennsylvania, and nearby areas, it's best to trim these plants in late winter while they're dormant.

Read about some of these common trees and shrubs that will benefit from winter pruning!

Apple trees

In Pennsylvania, apple trees are dormant in winter, and late winter is the ideal time to trim and prune before the growing season starts in earnest. For fruit trees, pruning is essential not only for the health of the tree but also to produce better quality fruits.

Too much dense growth means less sunlight for lower branches, and less sunlight means a weaker tree. Pruning an apple tree will also inevitably mean less fruit—but that’s not a bad thing. The tree will put more effort into the remaining fruits, meaning they will be bigger and healthier.


Red cotoneaster shrub trees needing landscape trimming and pruning services in Washington, PA.

There are several different varieties of cotoneaster, and pruning needs will vary based on whether you have an upright or creeping variety. Pros will know best how to handle your particular shrub, but cotoneaster pruning should enhance the plant’s shape, and trimming should be primarily reserved for getting rid of dead or diseased branches.


When done incorrectly, or at the wrong time, pruning can leave hydrangeas with fewer blooms and smaller blooms. Winter pruning for hydrangeas means pruning old growth—pruning new growth means waiting until after the flowers are spent. Pruning old wood will lead to bigger and more prolific blooms.


Roses like things done a certain way, which is why pruning makes them happier and healthier. Goals for pruning roses should be to remove dead wood and branches that rub against each other, which can cause disease. Thin branches (think smaller than a pencil) are weak and should also be removed. The best time to prune Pennsylvania roses is just before spring.


Dogwoods, like most trees, need some pruning, but pruning too much can lead to waterspouts (also known as ‘suckers’) at the base of the cuts. Deadwood should be cut, and any diseased branches should be removed, so later winter (while the tree is dormant) is the best time for this in our state. Some branches will benefit from thinning in certain places, but pros will know best how to handle these delicate trees.

Quality lawn care should include tree and shrub maintenance. Schedule your pruning service today with us!

Pruning and trimming help trees and shrubs look better, but it also promotes plant health by removing dead and diseased branches and giving healthy branches more room to grow. If you live in Washington, Waynesburg, McMurray, or nearby areas of Pennsylvania, the most effective time to prune is in late winter. Call us today at (724) 350-1351 to schedule you