Which Trees Should Not Be Pruned in October?

by Kristiyana

As nature begins to change in early fall, the same thought is evoked in the head of every enthusiastic gardener: it’s time to prune those plants in the garden! And while some plants can actually benefit a lot from pruning before winter, others should definitely not be subjected to this task. Do you want to know which trees should not be pruned in October? And what about shrubs? 

Why Is Pruning Certain Trees in Fall Not a Good Idea?

which trees and shrubs should not be pruned in october fall

During the cold season, certain plants, especially trees, concentrate the majority of their energy on their roots. This means that pruning them in October or before winter in general will not give them the necessary time to heal their cuts, since the energy of the plant is already used for other things. And this is certainly not good for certain species in your garden.

And because pruning trees is generally done with the goal of encouraging growth or improving flowering, doing it in the fall doesn’t seem logical at all: the plants won’t grow or flower during the winter. Pruning certain trees in October and November can even have serious consequences for their health. This can weaken them, and you may also unintentionally cut off their flowers for the next season. Usually, when a tree flowers in the spring on the same wood of the year, it is better to avoid pruning it in the fall. So what does the list of trees not to prune in October consist of?

Which Trees Should Not Be Pruned in October?

Pruning plants is an essential part of their care and helps encourage their growth, flowering and also reduces the risk of certain diseases. However, when pruning is not done well or when it is not done at the right time, it can cause problems. And although for some plants it is strongly recommended to prune them in fall, for others this should be done rather at the end of winter or at the beginning of spring. So which trees should not be pruned in October?

Which Trees Should Not Be Pruned in October: Cherry, Pear & Plum

which trees should not be pruned in october fall fruit trees cherry plum tree


Cherry trees, pear trees and plum trees are among the trees not to prune in October. But which fruit trees can you prune in October and November? They belong to the Prunus genus, which should be pruned at the end of winter, in spring and in summer. Since all trees are susceptible to the “silver leaf” disease whose spores appear in fall and winter, carried by the wind and infect the cut parts of the trees, pruning in fall can aggravate the risk. Follow the instructions in the provided YouTube video to learn the basics of pruning fruit trees:



The Crabapple Tree Should Not Be Pruned As Well

which trees should not be pruned in october

The crabapple tree is very different from the apple tree, especially in relation to its fruits, which are smaller and generally more acidic. These trees do not need severe pruning, but if you want to give them a better shape or remove dead wood, do it in late winter or early spring.

Avoid Pruning Your Ornamental Pear Tree in Fall

when to prune pear tree in fall october

The ornamental pear tree is also one of the trees not to prune in October, since this can cause the development of additional suckers and also excessive growth. So, to give your tree a better shape, the best time to prune it is at the end of winter. Especially when it is still relatively young.

What Shrubs Should Not Be Pruned in October?

After learning about trees not to prune in fall, it is time to learn if there are also shrubs whose pruning during this period is not recommended. Which are they?

The Oak Leaf Hydrangea Should Not be Pruned

when to prune oak leaf hydrangea in fall october

Oak leaf hydrangea is one of the plants that bloom on wood all year round from spring until early summer. For this reason, it is best not to prune this shrub in fall. However, when pruning, avoid cutting more than 30 cm/11.8 in off the plant, so as not to prevent its flowering.

Avoid Severely Pruning Your Rhododendron

can we prune rhododendron in fall when how

Can you prune a rhododendron in fall? The answer is not unanimous, but since it also flowers on current-year wood, pruning it severely in October is not a very good idea. However, in fall, you can remove dry branches and leaves. Here’s a short video on how to prune your rhododendron, so it doesn’t lose its beautiful flowers:


Also read: Rhododendron Getting Yellow Leaves in Fall: 3 Possible Causes

The Forsythia Should Be Pruned in Spring

when to prune forsythia october

Here is another shrub that flowers on year-old wood. This means that if you prune it in October, there is a high risk of removing its flower buds. To avoid this, try pruning your forsythia in spring and never cut more than a third of its branches at a time.

Don’t Prune Lilac in the Fall

can we prune lilac in fall when how

Lilacs can handle severe pruning very well, with about a third of their branches. However, under no circumstances should this be done during the fall. The best time to prune lilacs is after the flowers have started to fade.

Azaleas Will Not Benefit from Pruning in October

taking care of azaleas in fall before winter

Azaleas are among every gardener’s favourite shrubs with their beautiful, colourful flowers. And although they do not require severe pruning, pruning them in fall is not recommended. To encourage their growth and flowering, do it in spring.

And there you have it! You now possess all you need to know for how to properly take care of your trees before winter.

Also read: Gardening in November: 7 Important Tasks to Do in Late Fall

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