Far too often business owners and home owners see the first break of summer heat and head outside to start cleaning up for fall. The cooler weather causes us to spruce up the landscape with mulch, cleaning up leaves and other projects that we didn’t get to during the hot days of summer. Even though it seems logical to reach for the pruning shears and tidy up those trees and shrubs, don’t do it.
Pruning stimulates new growth for trees and shrubs and rather than have a new tender shoots getting zapped by the first frost in a couple of months it’s best to just wait until the cold days of winter or early spring to do your pruning. Many shrubs are pruned on a regular basis so it may seem logical to just keep up the regular routine but it’s best to let them be for a month or so before the first frost. After frost comes the shrubs will enter their winter mode and then you can prune away without fear of stimulating a flush of tender growth.
Most people think the best time to plant trees and shrubs is in spring so the plants can have all summer to establish themselves. This is a big misconception. Even though a tree or shrub is dormant during the winter months there is a big party going on beneath the soil. Roots stay alive during the winter months, and while the top of the tree or shrub looks dead, it’s not. The roots are growing deeper and preparing the plant to grow the following year. This means that fall is the best time to plant so the tree or shrub can become well established in the cool months, requiring less frequent irrigation. If you’ve been wanting to replace your beds take the time this fall and give your plants a head start for spring and plant this fall.