Plants to Prune in Fall or Winter
Fall pruning usually only involves perennials that die back to the ground. Specific examples include Daylilies, Hostas, and other herbaceous perennials. When done at the right time, most pull off without using a pruners. As for trees, only Oaks need pruning in the winter months to help prevent oak wilt.
Plants to Prune in Spring
Most woody perennials, trees and shrubs don’t need pruning in fall, but rather in early Spring. Each new cut made during fall pruning creates an injury, removing moisture from the plant, which takes more time to heal. If winter proves especially bad, these injuries could harm or kill the plant. For information on Hydrangea, check out this video.
Spring blooming shrubs and trees, including Forsythia, Rhododendron, Azalea, and Crabapples should be pruned only after blooms have faded. Pruning at any other time will remove blooms for the next Spring.
Ornamental grasses should also only be pruned in early spring. These grasses and other perennials left for winter will provide birds with food and protection during those cold months.
Basic Spring Pruning
When beginning to prune in early spring around late March or early April here are some basic steps to help you:
1. Prune off the dead growth, which typically turns black.
2. Prune to shape and reduce size.
3. Fertilize once growth begins.
For specifics on when to prune and for more tips, visit Seasonal Garden Maintenance.
To prepare for Spring pruning, check out these helpful products.
If you have young fruit trees, learn more information about when and how to prune here.