Now is the time to prune deciduous shrubs, according to gardening expert

Do it now to stop the sap from bleeding with this winter pruning tip

birch trees in a winter garden
(Image credit: Getty)

Gardening expert David Domoney has shared an early winter pruning tip. He says that this time of year is the perfect opportunity to prune back any deciduous plants. 

A little TLC in the winter will make all the difference when we move into the warmer months when our plots come alive again. So although pruning shrubs is one of the more tricky gardening jobs to tick off your list, it's well worth doing.

acer plant in a container

(Image credit: Getty)

David Domoney's winter pruning tip

David Domoney is a horticulturalist and celebrity gardener who hosts Love Your Garden alongside Alan Titchmarsh. He has written a number of books on indoor and outdoor gardening, from The 5 Minute Garden to My Houseplant Changed My Life.

The gardening expert says that now is a good time to prune deciduous plants (those that lose all of their leaves in the winter). 'This time of year, most deciduous trees and shrubs are dormant,' David says. 

'So it's a great time to prune to avoid sap bleeding and keep them growing their best,' he writes on his blog (opens in new tab). Many plants go into a state of dormancy in the winter,  when they stop growing and conserve energy to help them survive colder temperatures.

wisteria in winter

(Image credit: Getty)

Some nutrients can be lost if a plant's sap bleeds, and plant sap can also be an irritant. So while they aren't busy growing, the now is a great time to use your best secateurs and trim back your favorite Japanese acer, your birch tree, climbing hydrangeas, or sweet-smelling wisteria and jasmine.

Don't leave it too late, though. If there's any chance of frost or snow, this could prevent the shrub or plant from growing back when trimmed.

climbing hydrangea

(Image credit: Getty)

Winter is also the best time to move plants in the garden, for the same reason that deciduous plants will be dormant. So if you've been considering changing up your garden's design, now's your chance.

Now is also a good time to think about feeding birds in winter by leaving out bird food to give them a helping hand in the colder months, and to complete maintenance jobs like giving the greenhouse a good clean.

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.