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Schill Blog

Dormant Pruning: Extend The Life Of Your Landscape


Plants are going into dormancy now, taking a winter break from growing. But that doesn’t mean that landscape maintenance should stop. Winter is an ideal time for dormant pruning because plants are not stressed. (Growing requires lots of energy.) Also, when plants are pruned in the off-season, it’s less obvious to people who visit your commercial property.

Here is what you should know about dormant pruning and how it can help extend the life of your Northeast Ohio landscape.

Dormant Pruning vs. Restorative Pruning—What’s The Difference?

Simply put, dormant pruning is trimming plants while they are not actively growing. Dormant pruning can involve light shaping or simply removing branches that are unhealthy.

Meanwhile, restorative pruning involves aggressively cutting back plants and removing approximately one-third of old wood. Restorative pruning is more visually obvious.

Both dormant and restorative pruning take place during late fall and winter, will preserve plant health, and ensure the safety of your property.

Dormant Pruning Benefits

You might be tempted to take winter off from plant care, but dormant pruning is beneficial for tree and shrub health.

  • Storm protection: Dormant pruning helps plants endure severe winter weather.
  • Healthy growth: By cutting branches removing unhealthy growth, you prepare the plant to rejuvenate and thrive in spring. Also, lack of pruning can restrict airflow to a plant, and block sunlight. Plants need air and sun to grow effectively.
  • Right-size plants: Plants can outgrow landscaping beds as they mature, especially when plants are packed into tight spaces. Sometimes plants are not appropriately spaced in the first place. Or, pruning is neglected and shrubs can lose their natural shape. Restorative pruning right-sizes plants and improves the appearance of landscape beds.

Overall, dormant pruning will re-establish the natural shape of plants, and allow for healthy growing conditions. Flowers bloom more fully on new wood, so both dormant and restorative pruning will reinvigorate leaf and flower quality.

Dormant Pruning For Safety Reasons

Dormant pruning is generally viewed as a plant health activity—and it is. But pruning is also a matter of keeping commercial properties safe. Tree branches and overgrown shrubs can block sight lines, making it difficult for pedestrians and drivers to move about safely on your property. Plants may block exit signs or window views. Trees and shrubs can encroach on walkways. And when plants grow too closely to buildings, they can introduce pest problems and other structural concerns.

Add Dormant Pruning To Your Winter Maintenance List

Remember, your landscape is an investment—an asset that needs to be maintained in order to grow and thrive. Plants can increase the value of your property if they are properly cared for year-round.

Winter is an ideal time to address tree and shrub growth that is presenting a safety hazard or could inhibit healthy development of plants. 

Let’s talk more about what landscape maintenance activities you can do now to prepare for spring in Ohio.

Call Schill Grounds Management any time at 440.327.3030, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Jerry Schill

Written by Jerry Schill

Jerry Schill is president and co-owner of Schill Grounds Management. He's received numerous accolades for his leadership in the Northeast Ohio business community and the commercial landscaping and snow management industry, including the National Leadership Award from SNOW Magazine and Lawn and Landscape Magazine. He is an active member of the Legislative Committee for the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) and the Snow and Ice Committee for the Ohio Landscapers Association (OLA).

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