What You Need to Know About Fall Pruning

By: albertaarb - July 15, 2015

With fall garden cleanup in full swing, many gardeners are reaching for their clippers to prune trees and hedgesBut before you start hacking at your trees and bushes, take a tip from a gardening expert:

"The rules of fall pruning are simple: Prune nothing in the fall! That’s N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Nada! Bupkiss! Zilch! Zero! Ladies—hide the pruners from 'helpful husbands!’ ... Hang little signs on your roses that say, 'Leave me alone until midwinter; or even better, spring.' There are no exceptions! Do not prune anything now. Got it?'" pleads gardening expert Mike McGrath, author of Mike McGrath's Book of Compost.

Put the Tools Away

Your garden will be much happier if you just disappear for three months and let it get on with winter.

According to Mike from Gardensalive.com: “The safest times to prune non-Spring bloomers are in the dead of winter, when the plants are dormant, or in early Spring when they show the first signs of new growth. Winter pruning is like carrying a four year old in asleep from the car—they are SO sound out, they’ll never know what happened (even if you bang their little heads on the doorjamb a couple of times). In Spring, the plants are actively growing and have the strength to readily replace what you trim.”

The Dangers of Early Pruning

If you prune your trees and plants in late summer and early fall, you may stimulate new growths, which will die as soon winter hits, and you’ll probably need to prune again in spring to remove the damage of winter.

Penelope O’Connor of the Christian Science Monitor  thinks that the only pruning you should do in Fall is what you need to do, like removing dead or diseased limbs or branches. You should do that as soon as possible, both for you own safety and to preserve the health of your plants.

If you do need to trim weak or dead branches, cut between the diseased spot and the body of the plant, and at the same angle as the branch collar, where branch and trunk meet. A circle of healthy callus will eventually swell around the spot. Cut the branch as close to the source as you can. "I prefer to prune back to the main stem. If you leave a stub sticking out, it's an area for bacteria and insects to harbor," says April Johnson, landscape coordinator at the Rodale Institute.

So, put away your clippers and trimmers, sit back and watch the leaves cover your garden. Unless there’s an immediate threat to your plants, just ride it out until winter or spring and enjoy the cooler weather.

Are You in Need of Tree Pruning Services?

Proper pruning is essential in order to maintain the health, structural integrity and the asthetics of your trees and shrubs. Our professionally trained arborists can properly prune your trees & shrubs in order to remove dead, dying, diseased or damaged limbs, increase light & air penetration by selective thinning and also eliminate potential hazards.

Contact us today for more information about our tree pruning services.

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