How to Prune Winterfat


Winterfat, or Ceratoides lanata, is an evergreen shrub with silvery leaves that grows to a height of about 2 feet and a circumference of about 3 feet. It grows on woody stems and develops a decorative, woolly seed head in late fall to early winter which appears to glow in the sunlight. Its name comes from the fact that the seed heads develop just as other forage materials are disappearing, making it desirable to grazing herds for their winter diet. The best time to prune it to maintain its full bushy shape is in early spring before new growth begins to appear.


Step 1

Place cushion or knee pads on ground before kneeling to protect knees from prolonged stress, if desired. Work from the outer edge of the plant toward the center. Cut each branch with the hand clippers as close to the ground as possible.

Step 2

Move the knee pad or cushion as you work around the shrub. Work around the plant, cutting each branch with the hand clippers just above the ground. Continue to move toward the center until all the branches have been cut back to just above ground level.

Step 3

Remove debris and the cut branches from around the base of the bush and surrounding area. Load branches into basket or yard waste bag for use in compost or disposal.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful when working with sharp tools such as hand clippers. Wear appropriate clothing to prevent getting scratches from branches as you work through the dense shrub and handle the cut branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand clippers
  • Bushel basket or yard waste bag
  • Knee pads or cushion (optional)


  • Ornamentals: Winterfat
  • Mountain States Nursery: Plant Database
  • Wildflower: Plants and Care

Who Can Help

  • Wildland Nursery: Shrubs
Keywords: winterfat, prune shrubs, spring pruning

About this Author

Theresa Leschmann has been writing since 2005. Her work has appeared in the "Southern Illinois Plus" and on numerous websites. She is a property manager who writes about gardening, home repair, business management, travel and arts and entertainment topics. She is pursuing an associate degree in English from Oakton Community College.