Encourage healthy growth in the spring and summer by pruning in the winter.

Pruning does more than just make your landscaping look neat and trimmed. It actually helps the long-term health of your plants. Shrubs that are left to grow without pruning can develop disease and pest infestations, and plants can simply outgrow their space.

Depending on the types of plants on your property, you may need spring pruning, winter pruning, or both. Let’s look at a few common shrubs and plants that benefit from winter pruning in Des Moines, IA.

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There’s nothing quite like the sweet spring fragrance of lilacs, but they need a little bit of winter care in order to grow better in the spring. While winter is the best time for pruning lilacs, it’s possible to prune too late and prune too much if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Spent blooms, dead branches, and low shoots should all be trimmed to encourage better growth and give blooms better access to sunlight.


Forsythia blooms in yellow growing in Pleasant Hill, IA.

Forsythia is an extremely popular spring bloomer, but it can also grow incredibly large and unruly if it’s not pruned appropriately. There are a couple of approaches to pruning forsythia, depending on the plant’s current health, and it should be done in the fall or winter:

  • Rejuvenation pruning – This involves pruning back to the base in the winter, which will allow the shrub to bounce back fully in the spring. Don’t worry—forsythia can still come back to full size in one season.
  • Thinning – Thinning key branches will encourage more blooms and give the remaining branches better access to water and sunlight. Thinning should be done annually in the winter.
  • Size reduction – If your forsythia is too big, you can make efforts to reduce the size by pruning in the winter.


Pink potentilla bloom on a tree in Des Moines, IA.

Potentilla needs winter and early spring care that involves winter fertilizing and pruning to encourage stronger spring and summer growth. Some of the heavy canes at the base should be removed, which will promote larger flowers and more of them.

Japanese spirea

Spirea is somewhat unique in that blooms like to form specifically on new wood growth. In order to bring your spirea back in full force, pruning the old growth is necessary. Fall and winter is the time for more intensive pruning, which will promote strong spring and summer growth.

Panicle hydrangea

It’s possible to prune this hydrangea too late, which will remove buds before they get a chance to bloom. Fall and winter are the times to do this. They do better with winter mulching, and like spirea, form blooms on new growth.

Winter pruning is necessary for plant health. Schedule pruning services today.

Trimming a berry bush before winter in West Des Moines, IA.

Pruning in the winter helps plants grow better in the spring and summer. In Des Moines, West Des Moines, Ankeny, and other nearby areas of Iowa, A+ Lawn & Landscape has the tools and expertise to properly prune your landscaping plants and shrubs. Call us today at (515) 289-2020 to schedule your service today.

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