Fall weather makes people crave cleaning up their landscapes. But before you start hacking at your shrubs, heed our general advice: DON'T PRUNE ANYTHING DURING FALL. Nothing. Put your pruners away for another month or two and let plants go completely dormant.

Why not?
  • Pruning encourages new growth just when the plant is trying to go dormant. New growth won't have time to harden off before freezing temperatures come along.
  • When you prune in fall wounds won't heal as quickly, leaving the plant more susceptible to fungal diseases than other times of the year.
  • Waiting until after all the leaves have fallen allows you to see the tree/shrubs structure better.

You can prune trees and shrubs after all the leaves have dropped, the plant is dormant and winter has truly settled in. Right now focus your attention on raking, mulching, amending soil and planting cover crops.

For most trees, major pruning should be done late winter-early spring when the wound will heal faster.

The exception to the rule: prune dead, diseased or damaged wood as soon as possible, and anything that is hazardous to you or your home.