Quick tip: Make kinder evergreen cuts

Beckie Fox

evergreen pruning for holidays

Decorating with fresh-cut evergreens is part of the holiday fun, but if you’re trimming branches in your own garden, prune with care.

Cuts you make this winter will affect the shape of your tree or shrub in years to come: a cut just in front of an upward- or downward-growing branch will trigger growth in the same direction next spring.

Your own garden may be a good source for a few boughs and branches to use in winter containers.

Tip for pruning evergreens

  • Always make clean cuts close to the base of the branch you remove, without cutting into the branch that remains.
  • Don’t leave stubs; these invite infection.
  • Take trimmings from sections not at eye level and from areas next to walls or fences, if possible.
  • Densely branched cedars (Thuja spp. and cvs.), yews (Taxus spp. and cvs.) and boxwood (Buxus spp. and cvs.) can be cut anywhere on their leafy stems, but don’t concentrate cuts in one section.

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