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When Should You Cut Back Plants for Winter?

Although the thought of cutting your beautiful garden plants may be heart wrecking, many plants like shrubs, perennials, and trees benefit from cutting. The best time to cut these plants is during the winter months, while they are inactive.

Routine pruning in winter encourages vigorous plants with new growth, blooming flowers, healthier foliage, and immunity from diseases.

In cutting back plants, it is essential to cut at the right time and in the right way. You may ask, “When should you cut back plants for winter.”

In today’s guide, you’re going to learn when you should cut back plants for winter as well as some additional cutting tips for your plants.

Why Cut Back Plants for Winter?

During the winter months, most garden plants become inactive. In this season, they are not progressive in development and have squatted in for the cold climate.

As a result of this inactiveness, winter seasons are ordinarily the perfect seasons to make any cuttings on your garden plants, trees, and shrubs for better shape.

It is advisable to start cutting back during winter right before any new development begins. Pruning revitalises the plant by giving it energy towards bearing new, healthy growth when the hotter temperatures of spring arrive.

Cutting back plants for winter, also makes it a lot simpler to see the real state of deciduous plants, since their leaves are no more.

Although not all garden plants, trees, and bushes ought to be cut back in the winter, howbeit there is a long list of shrubs and trees that you can cut back for winter.

Some of these are:

  • Summer-blooming roses
  • Clematis hydrangeas
  • Sumacs
  • Cherries
  • Glossy abelia
  • Poplar
  • Spruce
  • Callery pears
  • Junipers
  • Bradford
  • Crabapples beauty berries
  • Plums
  • Etc.

However, when in doubt, know that you can never do wrong by pruning a blossoming plant directly after its last bloom stage.

A rule of thumb states that if the plant blossoms on new growth, it can be cut back in early winter, before the new season’s growth and after the last flower of the year. While those that blossom on old-growth ought to be pruned in late winter starts.

When Should You Cut Back Plants for Winter?

Why Cut Back Plants for Winter

Knowing when to cut back plants for winter can be puzzling. Fortunately, cutting back at an inappropriate time is not deadly to the plants. Off-season cutting may bring about fewer blossoms of flowers and harvest in fruits.

Still, it typically won’t have long term damages on the plant. Nevertheless, avoid cutting back too late in the developing season; this practice will stimulate the growth of delicate new plant that will end up been killed in winter climate by the inevitable freezes.

It is best to cut back most garden fruits and flowering plants while they are inactive. The inability to cut back will bring about the plant’s consistent delayed progression and slowly decline, as it will sprout out suckers that take efficiency away from fruiting branches.

The best time to cut back plants would be mid-winter because this is when they are entirely inactive.

Let’s have a look at some of the tools and equipment you will need.

Tools and equipment you will need

Garden Plants to Cut Back for Winter

Garden Plants to Cut Back for Winter

Here are some plant species to look out for considering cutting back in winter;

Silver and salvias

In most cases, it is a great idea to hold up until late winter to cut back salvias and any plants with silver foliage (for example Buddleia Artemisia, and Peroskia, to name a few models).


Abelia can be cut back during winter because it blooms on new growth from spring through fall. To maintain the real shape of this beautiful plant, make use of hand pruners to cut back on some of the predominant stems.

Cutting back will allow abelia to develop more of its energetic and curvy stems that form the plant’s pleasing shape.


Many models of roses can be cut back for winter, including hybrid teas, shrub roses floribundas, and climbing roses.

Rambling roses are best cut back in late summer but can be refurbished in winter. A general rule of thumb instructs you, cut back slender stems that are weak more than thick, energetic.

Aim for plants height between 15cm- 45cm tall, depending on the original size of the plant and, of course, your desire.

Deciduous ornamental trees

During winter, cut back smaller branches sprouting from the plant’s body to form a tidy, bald stem at least 90-120cm tall. Cut back any excess branches that obstruct access or hinder mowing, but cut with care and aim to thin out rather than chop off the entire stem.

Fruit bushes

Fruit trees, such as blackcurrants and redcurrants, blueberries, and gooseberries and can be cut back in winter. As an accepted rule, cut back some old wood every year to encourage healthy young branches that will produce an abundant harvest in the coming years.


It’s always fulfilling when you maintain and cut back your beloved garden plants in preparation for the season ahead. You not only get the pleasure of seeing them in their original shape, but you also experience a more bountiful harvest due to rapid growth and optimum plant health.

Use this tested and trusted guide to answer all your questions concerning when you should cut back plants for winter.