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Lawn & Garden

The Best Time to Prune



The days are becoming shorter and the leaves have nearly all fallen. We are looking at our landscape and thinking about pruning.




Pruning can be performed at any time. When damage has occurred to a tree, for example, the damaged branch must be removed. A dead limb will eventually fall, creating a safety concern. After the damage has been removed, prune the other limbs to balance the tree, so that it will continue to develop evenly.




Deciduous plants will drop their leaves and go dormant during the winter, making that an excellent time to prune. Evergreen plants keep their foliage, but winter is also the best time to prune them, since their growth is slowest at that time.


The bloom cycle of a plant should be considered before you prune. Early blooming plants, like azaleas, will set next year’s blooms within 30 days after they finish blooming. If you prune azaleas in the fall or winter, you will be removing next spring’s blooms. Late blooming plants, such as crepe myrtles can be pruned in the spring without sacrificing color. This is considered to be “blooming on new growth”, where azaleas “bloom on old growth.”


Temperature should also be considered. If you prune a plant in the fall, the weather could be mild enough for that plant to produce new growth right away. This new growth is tender and could be damaged by exposure to freezing temperatures, so wait until there is little chance for new growth to occur before you prune plants that are not dormant.




Promote new and healthy growth when pruning. Leave enough branch to allow the plant to develop foliage so that it can recover during the following growing season. Severe pruning can prohibit the plant from gaining enough energy to recover. If there is only a stump that remains, often only basal shoots develop, resulting in a weakened plant.



Remove damage first, and then prune to balance the plant.

Prune when the plant is at its point of slowest growth, usually the coldest time of the year.


Remove no more than one third of the length of the branch, unless damaged beyond that point.


Until next time, I’ll see you in the aisles!



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Posted 2016-11-22T20:51:10+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL Travis_HD_ATL