Fall Pruning

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Fall is here and for some reason people love to prune in the fall. Let’s talk about that! Fall is not a great time prune. Pruning encourages new growth and new tender growth doesn’t have time to harden off before frost. The new growth or even the entire plant could be killed by a hard, early freeze. With today’s wacky weather patterns do you really want to take a chance?

Most deciduous trees like to be pruned while they are dormant which means when they have no leaves so winter is good. Some exceptions are maple, birch, dogwood and elm, which are considered bleeder trees. They should be pruned mid-summer. Most evergreens are best pruned in the early spring just before new growth starts. The absolute cutoff is July 15. However, those that bloom early, azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, and flowering cherries should be pruned just as their flowers start to fade. When severe pruning is needed it is best done during dormancy. Don’t prune berry-producing plants such as pyracantha and holly too much. Berries form on the previous season’s growth and you don’t want to cut off too much of those stems.

We have a Burke County pruning calendar available at our office. If you would like to have one, give us a call at 439-4460 or click here.

Written By

Photo of Donna TeasleyDonna TeasleyExtension Agent, Agriculture - Horticulture (828) 439-4460 Donna_Teasley@ncsu.eduBurke County, North Carolina
Updated on Oct 21, 2014
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