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To Prune or Not in Fall

150 150 Nisha Muire

Gardeners often get antsy with the fall season rolling around and nothing much remaining to do in the garden besides the yearly clean-up. Many gardeners will even attempt to prune their large trees and bushes in the warm September sunshine. However, this is definitely not counseled and it is highly advisable to wait.

1. Pruning will stimulate new growth. However, if the weather gets very cold at night then it will weaken new shoots that haven’t yet had time to harden.

2. Pruning wounds heal far slower in fall than during the spring, leaving your plants exposed to fungal infections and disease for longer periods of time.

The only time it is okay to prune in the fall is if you are:

1. Removing dead or diseased branches.

2. Deadheading flowering shrubs/plants to increase their flowering life. However, a caveat to deadheading flowering plants is if you need them to seed in order to propagate or if they look nice dried.

If you are bent on pruning your trees and shrubs, then it is best to wait until they have shed their leaves in the fall. When the tree is asleep, you will cause less damage to new growth and you will also be able to better see what needs a trim and what doesn’t.

If you are able to wait until winter or spring to trim your trees – even better!

Caring for your garden involves patience and effort, but as long as you are willing to put both in, then you will reap the rewards for years.


Nisha Muire

All stories by: Nisha Muire