In Other Words: Winter Pruning Guides from Around the Web

Pruning a Thunderhead Pine

I’ve found some wonderful tutorials on pruning in the last few weeks, with easy-to-understand photos and step by step advice. Pruning can be intimidating for beginners, but these guides break it down and have an encouraging tone – they don’t make things more complicated than they have to be.

Here are the articles I’ve liked the best:

Pruning, Pared Way Down: Margaret Roach was the garden editor of Martha Stewart Living for some time, and she presents some clear tips for minimalist pruners. She makes the point that even if we don’t do a perfect job of pruning, starting with just these few things would make such a difference!

Pruning (Young) Apple Trees: Bliss, a blog written by a Dutch garden- and interior-designer, brings us this simple photo essay on how she pruned her young apple trees. Gratuitous kitty photos at the end!

Pruning Wisteria: Fine Gardening Magazine has been wowing me lately with their online pruning articles. This is the only garden magazine I get, and this Wisteria article shows why I love it – clear, step by step instructions and crisp photos make it easy to figure out what to do.

Pruning Lilacs: Another great article from Margaret Roach’s A Way to Garden, this time about how to prune your lilacs. She makes the excellent point when discussing rejuvenating your shrubs that sometimes we don’t actually want to create a whole new structure to our plant, just tweak its shape a little. So think about what you want your plant to look like before you dive in.

Pruning Flowering Quince: Iona’s a retired librarian (my kind of gal!) with a passion for gardening. She’s sharing her tips and techniques as she learns, and this is the first in a weekly pruning series.

Here she talks about how to prune your flowering quince the right way, but if you are worrying you won’t get it right – you can relax. I’ve seen quinces that had been attacked with the electric hedging shears yearly for their entire lives, blooming away merrily and healthy as anything.

I hope these guides take away some of the mystery of pruning, and help you feel confident to get outside and give your plants some attention!

Be sure and check out Fine Gardening’s other pruning resources here, and if you missed them, my articles on how to prune ornamental grasses, Astilbes, roses, and raspberries.


  1. says

    This is great; so many people ARE daunted by pruning, but I tell people it’s like a haircut. Unless you cut the plant down to the ground and tear it out by the roots, it’ll probably recuperate from even a ‘bad’ pruning.

    jodi’s last blog post..Plants We Love to Hate

    • says

      You are so right, Jodi. If people have good intentions and prune with some thought and care, they usually get great results. If so many plants can get whacked repeatedly with the electric shears and do fine, then people who love plants needn’t be intimidated!

    • says

      Wow, thank you Monica! I need to follow you on twitter if you are tweeting garden stuff! I’m a twitter newbie so I’m looking for plant-y people to follow. I have been too shy to actually tweet myself just yet.

    • says

      Aw, thank you Ann! It’s funny, I think of gardening as being such a regional activity, and yet I’ve gotten so much out of your blog, too! I guess there’s a lot that holds true in every climate.

  2. says

    I know for many years I was completely put off by the act of pruning, just standing paralyzed at each decision. Now I actually look forward to it; in fact, if the snow would ever melt (ugh!) I would be getting started on my 2009 rounds. Thanks for the roundup and the kind words.

    Margaret Roach’s last blog post..a plant i’d order: lathyrus vernus

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