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Fall is a time for cleanup. Most gardeners feel an urge to prepare their landscape for the long months of winter. Part of the autumn garden cleanup includes raking and bagging leaves, adding mulch to the garden, last minute weeding, and pruning. Wait - you should NOT prune your garden in the fall.  Put down the pruning shears. Yes, you might think you need to trim back the trees and the scrubs, but fall is not the right time to prune. 

Why is Fall a Bad Time to Prune? 

When you prune a tree or shrub, the fresh wounds send a message to the plant to stimulate new growth. However, in the fall you want trees to go dormant and not develop new growth.  New growth on a tree or shrub is delicate and highly susceptible to freezing. The first frost of winter will kill the new growth and traumatize the plant so severely that it might die. 

Any time you prune on a worm day, sap rises upward so help heal the pruning wound. If the temperature drops to freezing, then the sap will freeze and damage the cells of the plant severe.

When Should You Prune Your Garden Trees and Shrubs?

You should prune your landscape trees and shrubs in mid-winter or early spring. Think of spring as the perfect time to give your plants a haircut. Remember, not all plants, trees, or shrubs require pruning. You might want to prune overgrown trees or shrubs. You can also prune fruit trees to encourage more fruit production. 

Risks of Pruning

Pruning is not without risks. The act of cutting into leaves wound which can allow diseases and fungus to penetrate the vascular system. Always sanitize your pruning shears between trees and shrubs to limit the spread of disease.

Pruning in the Winter

You can prune woody plants after they go dormant in the winter. Once the leaves have fallen, you can clearly see the best areas to prune. Prune overgrowing deciduous shrubs in the winter. 

Any time you prune on a worm day, sap rises upward so help heal the pruning wound. If the temperature drops to freezing, then the sap will freeze and damage the cells of the plant severely. 

Do Not Prune When It’s Wet Outside

If it is wet or damp outside, then do not prune. Pruning in wet weather helps spread diseases. Also, the dampness encourages the growth of harmful microbes which will cause damage to the tree. Ideally, you should only prune on a sunny day when the plants are dry. The sun will effectively kill any mold or bacteria that might enter the pruning wounds. 

How to Prune

You prune a tree or shrub to allow air flow and sunlight to reach all the branches and maintain health. When pruning, you’ll want to focus on cutting away the dead or dying branches first. You can also remove any branches that look diseases or sickly. Cut back any branches that are crossing each other or rubbing against each other. Remove low branches that might inter with lawnmowers or foot traffic. 

You’ll want to cut as close to the stem or tree trunk as possible. If you leave a stub sticking out, then diseases and insects will enter the area of concern. Always make the pruning cut at the same angle as the branch collar. Focus on where the bark of the branch meets the trunk for the perfect cut. In such an area, the shrub or tree will naturally develop a healthy callus and heal from the pruning wound. 

At Humboldts Secret Supplies, we know the importance of proper pruning in conjunction with a nutrient program. Contact us to learn more

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