The secret to strong, healthy and productive plants is in the pruning, and a good trim can work wonders. Timing is important, though, especially if you live in a colder region, as you might have to delay pruning certain plants until frosts are finished. It's worth learning which plants are happy to have a haircut at this time of year and which should be left alone.
“Autumn is a good time to prune summer-flowering plants,” says horticulturist Chloe Thomson of Bean There Dug That (@beantheredugthat). “Remove spent flowers and cut to shape growth.” Use this time to cut back hedges, tidy up shrubs and open up the canopy of some fruiting trees and plants, as well.
Not all plants benefit from an autumn chop, says horticulturist and landscape designer Lyndall Keating of Garden Society (gardensociety.com.au). “Certain plants require certain seasons for pruning,” she says. “Never prune when flower or fruit buds are forming, unless it’s to save the plant from a pest or disease attack.” But there’s some growth you should remove, regardless of season. “Prune dying or diseased branches, suckers and water shoots,” says Lyndall. Suckers appear around the base of grafted plants like citrus or stone fruit. Water shoots are vigorous, upright growths on the trunk or branches. “These often occur on eucalyptus and olive trees,” explains Lyndall. Also, remove any branches growing in the wrong direction.
"Trimming a hedge now will encourage new growth to harden up before winter,” says Lyndall Keating. Don’t cut it back drastically – just a light trim to tidy and shape.
Prune back summer-fruiting raspberries and hybrid blackberries once harvest is done. Cut canes that bore fruit this year down to ground level, but leave the new canes as they will fruit in the new season. Autumn raspberries can be cut back to ground level after fruiting has finished.
Learn how to keep trees strong, healthy and looking tidy with our easy guide.
Photo Credit: Cyclone and Makita