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Heather's Helpful Hint

Fall Clean-Up
November 04, 2010

The fall foliage has peaked and our yards are filling up with falling leaves. Clean-up has begun and we are getting lots of questions about pruning. 

Without going into great detail about each individual plant here are some simple instructions. 

• Do not prune back early spring blooming shrubs such as lilac, azalea, rhododendron, and laurel. Buds are set on growth from this season and pruning now will eliminate spring blossoms. You will be able to prune them immediately after they blossom next spring. 

• Most late spring and summer blooming plants can safely be cleaned up now but don't cut back too far because leaving some of the branching helps protect the root system in winter. 

• Hydrangeas can be tricky and different varieties have varied care requirements. If you have planted a variety that blooms on new and old growth pruning can be done any time. Keep in mind however not to cut back severely as blooming will be delayed. Call us for questions about individual varieties. 

• Roses can be cleaned up in the fall but it is ideal to cut them back severely in the spring when the forsythia pops into blossom. That is also the correct time to fertilize for the first time (but that is for another hint). 

• Enjoy your ornamental grasses until you grow tired of the foliage, usually after Thanksgiving. When you cut them back be sure to leave a healthy amount of foliage to protect the roots. If you planted this fall, mulch heavily going into the cold weather. 

• Perennials should be cut back to 4-6 inches above the ground and can be mulched for winter protection. 

We are happy to answer any of your questions regarding pruning and fall clean-up. Please call or stop by and enjoy the beautiful fall season. It will be over all too quickly.

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