7 Plants You Should Never Prune in Winter - Backyard Boss
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7 Plants You Should Never Prune in Winter

There are certain plants you should never prune in winter. While it might seem like a good time to shape them, there’s no benefit to doing so. In fact, you could wind up damaging your plants or delaying their growth. Some plants produce blooms on old wood. Old wood plants are best pruned in late spring or early summer after the flowers have faded to avoid stunted growth.

So, if you’re wondering whether or not you can snip away this winter, the answer is no! Read on for seven plants you should never prune in winter.

Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs are some of the most beautiful plants in any landscape. However, pruning them during the winter months can be a huge mistake, as it can cause damage to these delicate plants and may even kill them. Here are some flowering shrubs to avoid pruning in winter.

Mophead Hydrangeas

Image credits: Josefin via Unsplash

The beautiful mophead hydrangeas are a staple in many gardens, and for a good reason! These stunning flowers add loads of color to any landscape and require very little maintenance.

However, one thing you should never do when caring for your mophead hydrangeas is pruning them in the winter. Doing so exposes new growth to harsh temperatures, and your plants will perish. Instead, prune them in the late summer after their flowers have died. 

Mountain Laurel

Pink Mountain Laurel
Image credits: Rita Robinson via Shutterstock

Mountain laurel is beautiful, flowering shrub that gardeners prize for its striking blooms. These lovely plants can survive in various climates and terrain, making them an ideal choice for landscaping projects across the country.

While it may seem tempting to prune your mountain laurels during the winter, this is one task you should never do. Pruning at this time of year will stress your plants and leave them vulnerable to disease and pests. Instead, wait until spring, when the weather has warmed up, and new growth appears on your plants.

If you do prune, you’ll drastically decrease the number of blooms you see in the spring.


Image credits: MelanieGermain via Canva

If you want your azaleas to blossom beautifully each spring, then it’s essential to refrain from pruning them during winter. The best time to prune your azaleas is after they bloom, during mid-July.

Rather, focus on caring for your plants during the colder months by sheltering them to protect their roots. By taking this simple step, you can ensure that your beloved azaleas will thrive no matter what the weather brings.


Lilac bush
Image credits: toomler via Canva

Lilacs are beautiful, fragrant shrubs that are popular with many gardeners. Their stunning purple flowers and delicate foliage add a touch of elegance to any yard.

Despite their beauty, there is one thing you should never do when it comes to lilacs — pruning them in winter. Unlike many other shrubs and trees, the best time to prune lilacs is during the growing season, typically around mid-spring or early summer. This allows the plant plenty of time to recover from any damage caused by cutting back its branches before winter arrives.

Pruning is not necessary for the first three to four years of growth. But when it reaches that time and the flowers fall off, it’s time to prune.

Witch Hazel

Which Hazel
Image credits: billysfam via Shutterstock

Witch hazel is a stunning shrub commonly found in many gardens and yards. This plant has delicate leaves and fragrant yellow flowers, making it a lovely addition to any landscape.

While many plants can be pruned in the winter without causing damage, witch hazel isn’t one of them. Due to its unique structure and winter growing habits, pruning this shrub at the wrong time of year can cause serious harm.

Instead, wait until late spring or early summer. Only then should you prune it back to shape and keep it looking its best. Even then, prune minimally — once every 10 years should suffice.

Spring-Flowering Trees

Spring is a time of new life and rebirth when the flowers bloom and trees start showing off their beautiful blossoms. It’s also the perfect time to get outside and enjoy nature’s beauty. If you love spending time outdoors, you’ll definitely want to know about trees that are best left unpruned during the winter months.


Redbud Tree
Image credits: epantha via Canva

Redbuds are beautiful spring-flowering trees that add bright pops of color to your garden in the spring. Despite their lovely appearance, they can be pretty fussy about pruning. Most gardeners try to avoid pruning these trees during the winter months because they know how sensitive they are. If you choose to prune in winter, you’ll risk your blooms and even chop some off.


Early Richmond cherry tree in the backyard
Image credits: AYAT Zaheer. via Pexels.com

If you’re looking for a beautiful tree that blooms with vibrant, light pink, or white spring flowers, look no further than the cherry tree. These gorgeous trees are known for their stunning blossoms and eye-catching foliage, but did you know that they don’t like being pruned in the winter?

Cherry trees bloom during the early spring months, usually between March and April. These trees are vulnerable to cold temperatures and frost damage during this time of year. If you prune your cherry tree in winter, you risk seriously damaging its delicate branches and buds — which means your beautiful tree won’t be able to bounce back next spring.

Don’t Miss A Beat

Now that you know which plants to leave be in winter, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the snow! But before you go, share this article with your gardening friends so they don’t make the same mistake.

Were there any plants that should never be pruned in winter missed on this list? Leave a comment below!