6 Dos and Don'ts Of Pruning

It could cause more harm than good to your bushes and trees.

fall pruning

There's something about this time of the year that makes people crave pruning more than vampires yearn for blood. With fall garden cleanup in full swing, maybe it's all the raking and mulching that has people going bananas. But before you start hacking at your trees and bushes, take a tip from a seasoned gardening expert. "The rules of fall pruning are simple: Prune nothing in the fall! That’s N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Nada! Bupkiss! Zilch! Zero! Ladies—hide the pruners from 'helpful husbands!'" pleads emphatic gardening expert Mike McGrath, author of Mike McGrath's Book of Compost, and radio host of WYYY FM Philadelphia's You Bet Your Garden radio show. That goes for shrubs and plants as well as trees, McGrath insists. "Hang little signs on your roses that say, 'Leave me alone until midwinter; or even better, spring.' There are no exceptions! Do not prune anything now. Got it?"

Do you feel like you just got scolded by a third-grade teacher? Let it serve as a reminder that fall is not the right time to trim trees and shrubs, even though the fallen leaves have exposed all their imperfections. That's right, put your pruning shears back in the shed for at least a month or so. Here are some pruning basics, to be used when it's a safer time to trim back trees and shrubs:

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