Some More Tips on Fall Pruning

Last week we went over the general rule of thumb when pruning. Which is when it blooms is the time to prune.

So this week we will continue to list species that benefit from a pruning in the fall and species that do not benefit from pruning. But you will see, that the list of what not to prune is much larger than the list of what to prune. So if you are in doubt – HOLD OUT until spring.


Ornamental Grasses do not need to be cut back in the fall, but they are suitable fall or early spring trimming to keep them looking tidy.

Ornamental Sedges like Carex, Festuca and Helictotrichon are not recommended for pruning in any season, rather spring, summer and fall cleaning of dead foliage to keep them looking sharp.

And in case you were wondering, it is recommended to do one final mow of the lawn to cut your grass back to 2 1/2 inches to prevent winter damage.


Rose pruning is a bit more tricky. Roses are recommended to have a light prune (more like a dead-heading) between bloom flushes in the summer months. For a hard prune, one where you cut back more than half of the plant, it is recommended you wait until March-April. The general rule of thumb for hard pruning of roses is that you wait until the Forsythia are in bloom and prune as soon as you see this. Once you decide to do a hard prune you may cut the stems back to 5cm of stem height.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azalea’s and Rhododendrons can get leggy throughout the summer months and we have been asked a lot whether they can be pruned in the fall. Take a look at your prized plants, if you look at the tips of the branches you can see buds, and in those buds are the glorious flowers that will be coming out next spring, so please do not prune Rhodendrons or Azalea’s in the fall.

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees benefit from fall and winter pruning. Apples, pears and cherries may be pruned from late fall to late winter. It is recommended to wait until early spring to prune your nectarine or peach trees because they may pick up a disease over the long winter months.

If you have any other species that you would like us to discuss, feel free to write an email (, give us a call 519-238-1321, or pop in and ask, we would be glad to help!

Happy Gardening


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