Winter Landscaping Tips

Landscaping Tips brought to you by the Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association,, The Arizona Certified Landscape Professional program and the Sustainable Landscape Management program.

It has finally turned ‘winter’ in the Desert Southwest and while many of us have our focus on picking out that perfect Christmas tree, we should also look at pruning outdoor pine trees and other trees growing on our properties. Here are a few recommendations and benefits for winter tree pruning:

·       Prune deciduous trees such as Chinese elm, pistache and ash when your certified arborist can see the crown of the tree sans foliage. This allows them to concentrate on making ideal cuts, refining the structure of the tree.

·       Removal of diseased wood in the colder months helps prevent spread of some diseases to adjacent limbs or trees. Branch diseases, such as sooty canker, are inactive in colder temperatures.

·       Evergreens like Afghan and Aleppo pines can be pruned during the winter when transpiration rates are reduced. Minimal pruning is always best on pine trees.

·       Reduce size and improve structure of stone fruits like peach, nectarine and plum trees to promote crop production in the following season.

·       Mesquite trees prone to sapping can be pruned during the winter months to reduce oozing from new wounds. Honey mesquite and velvet mesquite can be pruned anytime, but wait until the end of January to prune Chilean mesquite in higher elevations or colder areas.

·       If required, raise canopies in the cooler months to allow time for the tree to adapt to new sun exposure on previously shaded limbs or trunk. Wait until after Feb. 15th to trim any frost sensitive species.


To find more information on estimated cold hardiness of trees on your property, please refer to the following sites:, and It is recommended that you hire a certified arborist and confirm your tree health care professional has the appropriate insurance for climbing trees. Your arborist should not remove more than 20% of living limbs in one year, which can be stressful to some tree species and can even promote excessive growth in the coming season. Enjoy your holiday season and remember to make time to appreciate your trees, both indoors and out.