Don’t Prune These Plants this Fall!
As summer draws to a close, gardeners all around start to think about the different plants they need to prune ready for the winter. However, for some plants, pruning this fall isn’t necessary. So, if you’ve had little luck in the garden this season, don’t make things worse by pruning these plants this fall! In this article, we’ll be looking at what plants you should keep away from the pruning shears this season.
1. Why You Shouldn’t Prune These Plants in the Fall
Pruning certain types of plants during the fall can be detrimental to their health, and can have severe implications on their ability to bloom in the spring. Here are some of the types of plants that you should not prune this fall:
- Tulips: Tulips usually bloom their best the following year after they are planted. Pruning them in the fall can cause damage to the tulip buds that are forming, and can result in fewer blooms in the spring.
- Azaleas: Azaleas, like tulips, need time to develop buds that will produce beautiful spring blooms. Pruning in the fall can decrease the number of blooms that they produce in the spring.
- Fruit Trees: Fruit trees can be particularly sensitive to pruning at any time of the year, but especially in the fall. Pruning in the fall can create an open wound for the tree that can become vulnerable to winter pests and diseases.
- Cacti: Cacti take their time when it comes to developing and pruning at the wrong time of the year can disturb their development and blooming pattern. Pruning cacti in the fall can stunt their growth and cause them to not bloom properly.
In order to ensure that your plants will have a healthy bloom in the spring, it’s important to wait until the proper season for pruning. Not only could it affect the growth of your plants, but it could also put your plants at risk of becoming targeted by pests and diseases.
2. Different Types of Plants to Leave Alone
- American elm
- Silver maple
If you’re looking for shade trees, these three are a great choice for your garden, but it’s best to not prune them in the fall. Pruning can occur in other times of the year, depending on your region, but in fall the process can be downright detrimental for these species.
- Butterfly bush
- Tulip tree
- Rhododendron and azalea
Shrubs are a great way to add variety to your garden while still keeping a low maintenance approach. However, some species like butterfly bush, tulip tree, and rhododendron and azalea don’t respond favorably to most pruning. These species should be left alone from pruning and pruning should occur at the appropriate time, if deemed necessary.
3. Advantages of Waiting to Prune
Waiting to prune is not always a bad thing. There are some advantages to taking your time and pruning when the time is right. Here are a few:
- Wards off disease: Pruning too early can leave the newly pruned areas exposed and vulnerable to disease. Waiting until the right time ensures that plants are able to heal and fight off any potential threats.
- Promotes healthy growth: Annual pruning promotes better and more efficient growth, meaning it will take less time for plants to grow back with a full and lush look and feel.
- Protects against temperatures: Pruning too early puts plants exposed to too much cold or heat, causing potential damage to the foliage. Waiting for it to become the right temperature ensures your plants are healthy and protected.
The bottom line is, while it’s important to prune regularly, it’s equally as important to prune at the right time. If you wait a little bit and prune when the conditions are right, you’ll enjoy lush and healthy plants all year round.
4. Possible Pitfalls of Pruning Too Late
If you wait too late in the fall season to prune certain plants, you will face some unwelcome risks. Here are a few potential pitfalls you should be aware of:
- Looks: When you prune too late, the plant’s appearance may take a hit. This is particularly true of shrubs where late pruning means you could miss out on the ability to improve its shape until the following year.
- Sap Problems: Sap oozing can occur in late-pruned plants because the wound can’t heal and close itself before freezing temperatures arrive. When temperatures drop and sap continues to flow, the plant becomes vulnerable to winter injuries.
- Increase in Disease Development: While pruning certain plants late should not in and of itself increase their chances of being affected by disease, the open wound make them more vulnerable. Any existing diseases or positive conditions for disease growth can have more of an effect.
If you do need to prune these plants late in the season, use extreme caution. Make sure to disinfect the pruning tools between plants and spots, and play it extra safe when dealing with plants already affected by a disease.
5. Tips for Pruning at the Appropriate Time
Pruning is essential for heavy-flowering plants like roses and fruit trees – for these, it’s important to time your pruning correctly in order to get the best yield of flowers and fruits.
Here are five tips to help you make sure you prune your plants at the appropriate time:
- Know your plants – Different plants have different periods for pruning, so make sure you do your research before you get to work.
- Avoid pruning in winter – Pruning in winter when plants are dormant can cause new shoots to come up during colder weather, leading to cold damage.
- Timing - It’s important to prune at the right times of year, as certain plants may be sensitive to pruning in the wrong season.
- Know when to prune – It is generally best to prune deciduous trees in late winter or early spring, just before they start to bud out. For roses, wait until after they bloom.
- Go carefully – Take your time when pruning as it’s easy to make mistakes, like over-pruning or pruning in the wrong season.
Always remember not to prune the plants mentioned in the article this fall!
Remember, by refraining from pruning your plants this fall, you are helping them to remain hardy and endure the coming cold winter season. Saving yourself a little time in the garden this autumn can help you reap the rewards in the months ahead.