Put the shears down.

The nights are getting longer, the temperatures are getting colder, and the garden is looking bleak. There's no denying it—winter is coming and your garden is going to need a little help.

While non-plant lovers may not realize it, winter is a very busy time in the garden, even though most plants are dormant. Winter is when you should clean up beds, cut back ornamental grasses and perennials, tend to fruiting shrubs, and there are plants you should always prune in winter (we have a list right here). While many plants and trees can and should be pruned in fall or winter, before the new season's growth begins and after the final bloom of the year, there are other plants that should absolutely be left alone.

Here are the plants that you should never prune in winter:

Summer Flowering Shrubs

While summer flowering shrubs can be pruned at the tail-end of winter or early spring, we're including them here as picking up the shears in the middle of the cold season is a big no-no. Pruning at the end of winter or beginning of spring still gives them time to set flowers for the following year. Deciduous shrubs that aren't grown for flowers can be trimmed back at the same time.


The best time to prune them is late spring, immediately after they finish blooming. If you prune later in the year, you may remove buds.


Prune only after they finish blooming.


Like with other spring-blooming plants, don't trim jasmine in winter or you may not have flowers come spring.


The best time to prune spring-blooming shrubs is right after the spring blooms fade.


Never cut back into old wood, as this can kill the plants. Leave tender French lavender until spring.


If you cut lavender too early, you'll cut off the buds that would've opened this spring.


If you prune them later in the growing season or during winter, you'll remove flower buds and decrease the amount of spring blooms.


Like other spring-blooming plants, if you prune a forsythia in winter, you may remove flower buds.


Trimming a magnolia in winter could cost you the buds that were destined to bloom into glorious flowers.


As with spring-flowering shrubs, these trees that bloom in early spring should be left alone in winter so buds can grow, leading to flowers in spring.

Cherry and Pear Trees

Prune these trees after they bloom or risk cutting down your summer fruit harvest.


Along with birches, elms, and other so-called "bleeder" trees, pruning maples in winter can lead to a great deal of sap. Wait until summer to avoid a possible mess.


Avoid pruning these blooms in the winter as it may stunt their springtime growth.

Some Rose Varieties

Certain roses like damasks, climbers, and old garden varieties only bloom once a year, so winter pruning may cost you your flowers. Instead, only prune in the summer once they have flowered.