Pruning Trees and Shrubs in Central Texas
While other parts of the US prepare for the cooler days ahead, it's important for us to remember not to jump the gun when it comes to our own winter preparations. In this article, we share a few tips for when and how to prune trees and shrubs in Central Texas.
In general, it's best to wait until our trees and shrubs are dormant. In Zone 8, dormancy is a fairly short window in January and February before the days start to warm into spring. Pruning when dormant allows for the wounds caused by the trim (or haircut, as we lovingly call it) to heal and ensures that new growth is not removed. This is particularly true for the variety of Oak trees that dot our landscape.
Perhaps a caveat to this is that if a tree is significantly damaged with broken limbs, such as from the wind storm our area experienced this past spring. In this case, it's best to prune the broken and damaged limbs sooner than later. Enduring additional storms and strong winds can create further damage for the tree and property located near it.
Clean pruning shears and saws thoroughly using bleach before and after pruning. This is important because it reduces the chance of infection and disease spread between trees and species, ie. Oak Wilt.
When trimming, follow this process:
Trim damaged branches
Trim branches that cause a natural obstruction
Shape the tree - ie. branches that seem out of place, longer than the others, slope significantly downward, etc.
For spring-flowering shrubs, there's no need to wait until they become dormant. Rather, they should be pruned after they flower, as this promotes growth and flowering for next year. Examples of plants in this category are Rhododendrons & Forsythia.
And of course, sometimes it's best to check with a local Arborist, as they can properly advise you on the best way to care for the trees on your own property.