Timing is Important Before Pruning
For most people trimming and pruning go together during fall cleanup. Even though it seems like getting rid of unsightly straggly branches at this time is a good idea; It’s actually not. Not pruning the unsightly branches is the best option. It helps keep bushes and trees to stay healthy and protected during the winter months. The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) recommends that no pruning is done after early September for most climates.
Well getting into the fall season is not ideal time to prune. The only branches you want to prune are the dead and dying ones. The best explanation is the plant’s top rate of growth is ending which means it'll not be pushing out new growth. Most important, the wounds creating from pruning are will not have enough time to heal over. Even if new growth does start it will not have enough time to mature. Generally the new growth will brown quickly and die. Waiting to prune during the plant’s dormancy is best. Usually before the plants are ready to come back to life and start leaf buds is the best time for pruning. For most areas this time frame is March-April.
Some flowering bushes do bloom late in the year. With these “late bloomers” it’s perfectly fine to prune them in the fall season after flowering has occurred. But pruning other flowering bushes at the wrong time will result in less flowers for you next season. A good rule when pruning flowering bushes is that the best time to prune these is within a month or so after flowering is done. NALP recommends before planting anything that you research how to care for these plants including when the best time is to prune them. Following the proper recommendations will result in healthy plants for years and years to come. Also be sure to pick the right plants for your climate.
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