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rules for trimming in the winter

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 2stroke, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. 2stroke

    2stroke LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 261

    is there a rule of what can be trimmed and what cant. for instance... i have a Globe willow tree that has alot of dead in it. can those be cut off tis time of year? how about the Holly bushes i have at a property?
  2. GravelyGuy

    GravelyGuy LawnSite Silver Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2,548

    If the branches are frozen and they snap instead of cut then you should hold off. Other than that I trim stuff back from spring to late fall unless there's a drought or something that would stress the plants out.
  3. LawnMowerBoy48

    LawnMowerBoy48 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 136

    Pruning a plant while it is dormant is always a good rule of thumb to use about when to prune a plant. Deadwood can be taken out at anytime of the year. Dead wood removal is important because removing it allows the plant to close the wound that is left faster than it would have been able to if the dead wood had stayed. This is all providing that you make proper cuts! Your Ilex plants can be pruned at this time of year too, generally they can be cut back pretty hard. I just pruned a massive Ilex crenata in my yard down to about 18"-24" stumps which will flush out new growth in the spring.
  4. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    The most prudent rule is simply this: Short of wayward/hazard branches, hold off on the pruning until the last chance of a freeze passes. Even if there is already cold damage it still provides a "buffer" in the event of an additional sudden unexpected freeze. The point is making a hard cut to remove damage then having to do it a potential second time is way too much stress during a dormant period. During the Spring, the plant can recover quickly to the damage done as a result of trimming and would be less susceptible to disease.

    Think of it this way, are you able to recover from injury quicker after you've been active or after you've been bed bound for four months?
  5. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I don't know about Colorado but if you find a way to kill or hurt Holly any time of the year by pruning let me know. I dislike holly. Otherwise does it bloom on this year's or last year's growth? Is is dead wood? Can you tell until spring where the cold damage/dead wood is? It may be safer to wait until the last threat of frost.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Don't know about Colorado, if it freezes at all I wouldn't touch anything because branches will snap whether dead or not and this could give the mistaken impression that a branch is dead when it really isn't.

    But a truly dead branch snaps right off, once it warms up a bit I grab twigs like that with my hand and just yank them off, it's a sure way to know if it's truly dead because if it doesn't come off then it isn't dead lol. As for dead and trimming that can be done anytime, they need to come out of there and dead is dead so it doesn't matter but I wouldn't do it in sub-freezing temperatures.
  7. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    LawnSite Member Join Date: Apr 2007
    Location: Navarre, FL
    Posts: 244

    I don't know about Colorado but if you find a way to kill or hurt Holly any time of the year by pruning let me know.

    I'm surprised that you might make such a statement with you also being from Florida. Are you not familiar with dieback on Yaupon hollys/Illex vomitoria or
    I. shillings?? Super common issues with them. Since they are slow growing maybe you're not realizing this might be occurring as a result of your cultural/maintenance practices....
  8. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    You should enlighten us on this topic.
  9. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    Sorry. I've got to get the 'smartash' button on this laptop fixed. I had hoped the "I dislike Holly" statement would water it down some. In fact I do dislike it. Especially on conical specimen trees when picking pine straw out of it so it doesn't look like it needs a shave while I get stabbed. I was actually thinking of Ilex aquifolium and the other crap they push at the big box stores that get put in as misplaced hedges. I'm prejudiced though, I had 300' of 4' holly hedge surrounding a beautiful garden in England and hated trimming it.

    I have some native hollies at a property in AL and because my wife forbids it I haven't killed them yet. Oh, the hollies at several of my new accounts seem to be doing ok too. I'm even trying to save them from scale insects this year. But I still don't like them.

    I would like to know about die-back in the yaupon varieties though. Can you tell me some more?

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