Fall Pruning Tips - Should You Prune and How?

I know you’re probably looking up how to prune your trees now that the leaves are starting to fall and you can see the trunk again, but actually, Fall is not the best time to prune and here’s why.

I know that you’re probably chomping at the bit to get at that tree and with all the other Fall clean-up, leaves, raking, mulching, it can be tempting to start hacking away at your trees too, but don’t.

The bottom line – Don’t do it. Don’t prune anything in the Fall, including bushes, trees, fruit trees, even roses. Fall is just not the right time to trim trees and shrubs even though things will start to look a little skraggily.

More: 5 Common Tree-Pruning Mistakes Homeowners Make

Why Not?!

Pruning promotes growth and right now, we want them to sleep, not regrow and bloom. By pruning now, it only weakens the tree and if we get another warm day around here, which can happen, sap will rise up in the plant and then if it freezes, that sap will freeze and possibly ruin the tree.

Instead of pruning for looks and growth, prune only if necessary for protection. If you see dead limbs or hanging limbs that could fall and cause damage over the winter or when a good dumping of snow lands on them, it’s okay to remove them. But, make sure they are dead. Removing dead limbs won’t cause growth elsewhere on the tree.

Fall Pruning Tips - Should You Prune and How?

There are a few simple plants that can take some pruning because they can’t deal with harsh winters but those only include Bearded Iris, Blackberry Lily, Columbine and a few others – Visit this site for a list of perennials to cut back in Fall and Winter.

The best thing you can do to your trees in the Fall is to rake and mulch, water your trees to help them prepare for winter and wait until spring to really prune. When you do prune in the spring, never prune when it’s damp or wet out as it can encourage bacteria to grow on the cut branches. Make sure to cut between sickly branches and the body of the tree and when taking complete branches off get as close to the main stem as possible.

So again, now is not the time to prune. Don’t even think about cutting any live limbs or branches off of your trees. Just let them rest, hibernate, and we’ll check back in with you next spring.