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Pruning Tips for Shrubs and Small Trees this Fall

With the official first day of Fall arriving, many garden lovers will be prepping their gardening beds for Winter over the next couple months. If you are newer to gardening or pruning, below are some general times to prune certain plants in our area, and not everything needs to be pruned in Autumn!

So we might ask, what are some benefits to pruning?

Pruning once a year or so helps a plant stay healthy and promotes new growth, as well as helps maintain a good size for the space you’ve got it planted in.

When deciding what to prune, first we need to ask when each plant/shrub blooms!

Plants that bloom in late Summer or early Fall will benefit from a Fall pruning after their blooms are spent.

Examples of this would be Butterfly bushes, Crepe Myrtles, and Hibiscus which is also known as Rose of Sharon (shown below)!

On the other hand, Spring blooming plants/ shrubs do not need pruning in Autumn – internally, their buds are getting set at that time for blooming the following Spring, so pruning in the Fall would actually inhibit much of their bloom the following Spring!

Examples of Spring blooming plants that we would not want to cut back in Fall are Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Forsythia, and Quince.

Instead, the best time to cut these Spring blooming plants is late Spring/early Summer, not long after they have finished blooming. That will give them the good trim they need and then give them the time they need to begin setting their blooms for the next Spring! We all want spectacular Spring flowers in our yards!

What about Roses? The general rule is to prune roses the same time Forsythia blooms- in early Spring.

Okay, so what about shrubs and small trees that do not bloom?

For those shrubs and trees that do not bloom (such as evergreens), the best time to trim them is around November or early December (late Fall), as they will have just entered their dormant season.

Beware of trimming too much on evergreens in the Fall! I did it once to boxwoods; and it took awhile for them to fill back in as they were headed into dormancy.

We’re here to answer any questions you may have regarding shaping and pruning your plants this Fall!

And while we’re talking about Autumn, what are you excited about in regards to the change of seasons?

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