What You Should Really Prune this Fall (And What You Should Keep Your Mittens Off Of!) - Georgina Garden Centre

What You Should Really Prune this Fall (And What You Should Keep Your Mittens Off Of!)

Well, it's officially fall, which means it's time for yard work—so don't get too cozy with those lattes just yet! Let's look at those fall pruning and landscaping chores you might be trying to put off to help you get down to business and back to your coffee and book! 

Why Do I Need To Prune in the Fall, Anyway?

Proper fall pruning can make an incredible difference in the health and appearance of your landscape. By strategically pruning certain plants and trees now, you can achieve several amazing benefits:

  1. Disease Prevention: Removing dead or diseased branches is an excellent way to prevent the spread of pathogens and improve the overall health of your plants.
  2. Improved Air Circulation: Properly pruning your trees and shrubs will open up their canopy, allowing for better air circulation and reducing the risk of many fungal infections.
  3. Encouraging Growth: We all want our plant babies to thrive, right? Well, pruning in the fall can stimulate new plant growth in the spring, giving them a head start for the next growing season.
  4. Enhanced Aesthetics: Removing unsightly or overgrown branches will improve the appearance of your landscape. After all, nobody wants an ugly backyard!

While these benefits may have you eager to break out the pruning shears, remember that you can't just go around chopping up everything you see! Some plants don't want to be touched right now, but others are okay with a little man handling at this time of year. 

Georgina Garden Centre-Keswick-Ontario-What You Should Really Prune this Fall-fall pruningWhat to Prune This Fall in Keswick

Let's now shift focus and look at what you should be pruning right now and why:


Deciduous Trees

  • Dead or Diseased Branches: These should be removed to prevent further damage to your trees.
  • Crossing Branches: Eliminate branches that rub against each other, as they can create wounds and invite pests.
  • Water Sprouts: These are fast-growing, vertical shoots that can weaken the tree, so remove them promptly.
  • Low-Hanging Branches: Trim away any branches that obstruct pathways or interfere with structures.
  • Thin the Canopy: Carefully thin your trees' canopy to promote better air circulation, reduce the risk of diseases like powdery mildew, and enhance sunlight penetration.

    Georgina Garden Centre-Keswick-Ontario-What You Should Really Prune this Fall-hydrangea pruningShrubs and Bushes

  • Dead Growth: Prune any dead or diseased branches on your shrubs and bushes.
  • Overgrown Shrubs: Trim back overgrown shrubs to maintain their shape and size.
  • Late Bloomers: Prune back your summer-blooming shrubs, like hydrangeas, as soon as they've finished flowering. Avoid pruning your spring-blooming shrubs, such as lilacs, as they have already set their buds for next year.


  • Cut Back Spent Blooms: Trim back any spent flowers on your perennials to encourage new growth and prevent them from going to seed.
  • Divide and Transplant: Fall is an excellent time to divide and transplant perennials, as it helps rejuvenate them and promotes healthier growth.


  • Remove Dead Wood: Trim away any dead or diseased wood from your rose bushes.
  • Reduce Height: To prevent wind damage during the winter, cut back any of your tall rose canes to about 30 inches.

    Fruit Trees

  • Remove Suckers: Prune away any suckers, or vertical shoots, from the base of your fruit trees to help direct their energy towards fruit production.
  • Thinning: Thin the fruit on your trees to ensure larger and healthier fruits next season.


  • Minimal Pruning: While evergreens don't require extensive fall pruning, you can certainly help them by removing any dead or diseased branches.
  • Avoid Heavy Pruning: Save any major pruning on your evergreens for the spring or early summer when they're actively growing.

  • Georgina Garden Centre-Keswick-Ontario-What You Should Really Prune this Fall-belt holster for prunersHolster Those Pruners!

    Keep your shears away from these garden favourites:

    • Spring-Blooming Trees and Shrubs: We suggest keeping your mitts off any spring-blooming trees and shrubs in the fall, as they've already set their flower buds. Instead, prune them immediately after they bloom in the spring.
    • Tender Plants: Tender plants that may not survive our harsh Ontario winter conditions should not be pruned in the fall. Instead, wait until spring so you can assess the damage and prune accordingly.
    • Newly-Planted Trees and Shrubs: Newly planted trees and shrubs need time to establish their root systems. We don't recommend that you prune these in the fall, either. Instead, focus on watering and protecting them from the harsh Ontario winter weather.
    • Frost-Sensitive Plants: If you have frost-sensitive plants, resist the urge to prune them heavily in the fall. Instead, wait until late winter or early spring to assess frost damage and prune accordingly, as with your newly planted trees and shrubs.
    • Landscape Plants: As winter approaches, it's best to avoid heavily pruning your landscape plants. Pruning at this time of year can stimulate new growth that might not have time to harden off before winter, making it vulnerable to frost damage.

    Our fall pruning tips should give you plenty to do this Autumn and will help keep your garden in tip-top shape over the off-season. If you still have any questions, come see us today for the best fall gardening advice in the Keswick area. 

    Happy pruning! 

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