Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > September 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - FALL IS A PRUNING-FREE SEASON!

IN THE DIRT with DOUG - FALL IS A PRUNING-FREE SEASON!

Fall is a favorite time for most of us to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and get out into our gardens.  After a hot summer, we are all eager to get into our gardens to clean up the spent annuals, rake up some of the debris, and rejuvenate our lawns.  While we are in this mood to clean it is awfully tempting to get out the pruners and cut back our shrubs and trees to finish in one fell swoop. 
                Before writing this blog I reviewed the Virginia Cooperative Extension A GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL PRUNING, SHRUB PRUNING CALENDAR in order to verify my information about not wanting to prune shrubs and trees.  With this knowledge I can emphatically state that FALL IS A PRUNING-FREE SEASON!
                There are a number of good, logical reasons why to be caution with pruning this time of year:
  1.  Pruning can alert a plant to put out new growth.  You don’t want this happening in the fall.  Shrubs and trees need to go dormant and not push out tender new growth.  This tender new growth will be damaged with the upcoming frost and colder temperatures.  Keep in mind that our average first frost of the fall is around October 20 in our area.  This frost will damage tender, new growth on plants.
  2. Plants in the fall are devoting their energy downward – they are gathering energy in their root system so they are able to push out new growth next spring.  This means that plants are less likely to quickly repair the pruning cuts you make, which can lead to a possible pest and disease problems down the road.
  3. We do not know what kind of winter we could have this year.  Many times our winters here in Central Virginia can cause some dieback on many of our plants.  It is much easier to prune next year once evidence of such damage becomes clear. 
This Virginia Cooperative Extension pruning calendar is available here at The Great Big Greenhouse or you can contact your local county extension service for a copy.  This calendar is a helpful tool with learning the proper timing to prune various shrubs and trees. 
                                                                                                Happy Gardening
Posted: 9/21/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 1 comment(s)
Comments
Janice
I have always pruned my boxwoods and hollies this time of year, I do so mid Sept to the first of Oct, to give them chance to harden off before the cold.I am a avid gardner and one can always fine me in the gardens,
9/29/2016 6:41:56 PM

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