Pruning Fruit Trees
Winter is a great time to prune fruit trees. Most Apples, Peaches, Pears or Plums, when grown in orchard situations, are pruned to allow the center of the trees to be opened up. This allows the sunlight to get into the crowns of the trees. This can be done in your yard as well.
Removing the leader (really the only plants you would want to do this with are fruit trees) will encourage more lateral or horizontal growth. By doing this, you encourage the fruit production on branches that can hold the weight of the fruit, plus it allows more sun and air circulation in the center of the trees. This is a more natural way of warding off mildew or disease. Give it a try!
Oaks should only be pruned while dormant. In addition to pruning Oak trees, you can also prune Hackberry, Honeylocust, Coffeetree, Tree Lilacs, Lindens, Mountainash, Poplar, and Willows. Whereas Black Alder, Birch, Maple, Butternut and Black Walnut should be pruned later in May so the sap won’t run out of the cuts.
Many shrubs can be thinned out (renewal pruning) or headed back at this time to reduce the size of the plants. Big, overgrown red or yellow twigged dogwoods and Viburnums can be thinned out now too. Deciduous shrubs that bloom on new wood can be pruned back anytime from now until they start to grow in spring. If you have time and they are accessible, go to it!