Some twiggy trees accumulate layers of dead underskirts which they would be much better without.Removing them is a useful January activity.
Any odd elbowing-out shoots and bulging stems which are spoiling the shape of weepers and fastigiate trees stand out clearly in winter light. It is time to be putting these defects right. The odd snip here and there can make a marked improvement.
Beautiful deciduous weepers which need to be treated in this manner at this time of year include camperdown elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’), which is fully hardy and grows in any well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade and the weepingSiberian pea(Caragana arborescens ‘Pendula’) which can be grown successfully virtually anywhere.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea Pendula’ is a lovely weeping purple beech which can also be tweeked at this time.
For sculptural specimens with twisted branches, there is none better than Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick. It has ornamental, twisted, orange-yellow stems which look very effective in flower arrangements, and bares yellow catkins towards the end of winter. If you prune them hard, then this tree produces colourful winter stems.