The task of pruning is particularly important in fall for several reasons. As always, it is necessary to remove dead limbs, flowers, and stems to maintain a clean-cut look to your landscape and encourage a final wave of blooms before winter. Hydrangea heads normally start to dry out this time of year and you may want to remove them. Keep in mind only trim off the spent flowers on roses because you should prune them in the early spring.
Similarly, cutting back ornamental grasses will let the new spring growth shine when it starts to pop up. Do not prune back any plant if you are not sure it will outlast the winter weather. If done too soon, pruning can stimulate new growth that will later perish. If you do choose to prune, wait until after the first frost when your plant is dormant.
Do you have fruit trees in your yard, if so, the end of the summer season is a suitable time to remove about twenty percent of the tree’s new growth. Remember to clean up the debris around any fruit trees and pick up any dropped or rotting fruit. The end of summer is also a suitable time to cut back hydrangeas, be sure to leave at least three buds per stem for beautiful spring blooms. Cut annuals and perennials by at least one-third. Trim ornamental hedges lightly. Prune off water sprouts from citrus and stone-fruit trees. Inactive buds on the main stem or branches of trees are created by exposure to light which produces epicormic shoots also known as water sprouts. These inactive shoots add unnecessary weight to the tree and make it more susceptible to storm damage. These shoots are softer than the regular branches and because of the weakness are more prone to breakage and rot. The only way to eliminate this problem is to remove these shoots during the annual pruning and maintenance. End of Summer Pruning – When all the flowering varieties have finished blooming, you should prune back a little and not too radical, especially for younger plants and shrubs. Remove all dead branches and the pruning will add some shape to the bushes and shrubs and help them to prepare for the winter shutdown. Trees should also be pruned at this time and if you are not confident working at heights, it might be an idea to call in your local landscape gardener, who is fully equipped to safely prune and trim even large trees.