Request an EstimateEmail Us • 216.371.1935

DORMANT PRUNING pays dividends

five benefits of dormant pruning

1. Improve plant health and appearance: Removing undesirable plant parts and selectively pruning to reduce excess wood, directs the plants energy to the remaining and healthy branches. By removing dead, damaged, diseased, crossing/rubbing branches, and pruning for clearance, plants are thinned and reduced in size encouraging optimal plant performance.

2. Promote vigorous growth and increase flowering: Winter pruning is less stressful for plants, allowing for more aggressive pruning which rejuvenates tired and underperforming plants. A flush of new spring growth results in a fuller plant and directs energy towards desirable growth and flowering.

3. Reduce the spread of disease: Most diseases and insects are also dormant in the winter so pruning will not actively infect plants. Thinning plants increases air circulation during the growing season reducing fungus.

4. Saves time and money during the growing season: Selective pruning in the winter is more efficient, and it reduces excess woodiness that requires maintenance trimming and pruning in the summer months.

5. Increased efficiency and accuracy: During the winter, the core plant structure is readily visible and more accessible allowing for more precise selective pruning. Our team can more quickly identify defects and work through the plant without foliage interfering.

Doug pruning

with dormant pruning, timing matters

Dormant pruning is done during the cold months of the year while the plant is inactive. The best timing for structural, rejuvenating, or corrective pruning is late January through early March. Pruning in late fall or early winter should be avoided. Soil temperatures are still warm and the plant is still actively transferring its energy stored in the canopy to the root system. Pruning at this time robs the plant of vital stored energy. Heavy fall pruning is not advised because it may encourage new growth that may not have time to harden off before cold weather sets in, potentially causing frost damage to the new growth. One major exception is spring flowering ornamentals, which are best pruned after they flower and before they form flower buds for the following year. The other exception is removing any dead, diseased or damaged branches when you notice them regardless of the time of year.


Dormant pruning helps to maintain a plant’s size in a limited space, and it revitalizes older, woody plants. Plants that are pruned during dormancy are generally more vigorous and healthy than plants that have major pruning during the growing season. Dormant pruning reduces the amount of pruning and shearing needed in summer. There are three main types of pruning. Corrective pruning redirects growth to achieve a desired shape and a more natural looking plant. Preventative pruning removes dead, diseased or damaged plant material, as well as problematic branches such as those overhanging walkways or growing into buildings and homes. Rejuvenating pruning is done by heading back heavy growth and thinning crowded older plants to encourage new growth.

Pruning during the growing season

There are many reasons and benefits for winter pruning, however, there are also reasons for pruning during the spring and summer months. Healthy plants require regular and attentive care. After new growth, hedges need to be selectively pruned or sheared to maintain their desired shape, spring flowering plants are pruned after flower and before next year’s flower buds develop, and sometimes unforeseen issues become visible after the growing season begins requiring attention to maintain your plants aesthetics. Plants benefit from a balance between growing season and dormant pruning depending on the objectives.

DIY or Hire a Pro

Pruning requires proper tools, knowledge about how and where to prune and on which plants, not to mention the time and some patience. Below are a few tips to help you get started or contact us for more information about how we can help you with your pruning project.


Before starting, have a vision for what your pruning will accomplish so you are careful to prune the correct way to achieve your goals. When pruning, follow these steps:

1) Remove dead, diseased and damaged wood from the plant.
2) Remove any crossing or rubbing branches that might cause future injury.
3) Thin and head back according to the plant’s natural growing characteristics.

Thinning prevents ornamentals from becoming top heavy and more susceptible to winter snow damage and it encourages the plant to fill in the lower areas with new growth.

Know the plant

Before pruning, determine what the plant can handle. Some plants need to be pruned gingerly, while others benefit from a vigorous pruning. In general, it is best not to prune more than a third of any ornamental or tree, and in many cases removing a fifth of the plant is more appropriate. Rejuvenating pruning usually involves a three- to five-year pruning plan. As the plants become revitalized, some additional maintenance pruning during the summer months may be necessary to remove unwanted growth.

Dormant Pruning projects start at $500.00. Contact us today with any questions, or Request an Estimate!


From Lawn Care to Landscape Maintenance and other services, we can help you achieve the landscape you’ve always wanted!

“I have never had a better relationship with a service provider. I consider Doug and his entire staff as my friends. They go the extra mile and do it with a smile. Their work is impeccable and I would highly recommend them to anyone needing lawn care.”

– Hank R. – South Euclid, OH

Doug Freer

About Us

Lawn Lad is a full-service landscape company offering a range of services designed to revitalize, maintain and enhance your property - year round!

Doug Freer, President of Lawn Lad, grew up caring for lawns in the Heights neighborhoods. For over 25 years, he has managed the challenging conditions that century-old landscapes present. The Lawn Lad staff takes pride in restoring these properties with solutions to rejuvenate and renovate spaces.

Rooted in Customer Service Since 1979

Office/Shop Address: 441 South Green Road, South Euclid, Ohio 44121
Mailing Address: 471 Chagrin River Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44040
(216) 371-1935  •
©Lawn Lad, Inc. 2023