Home Gardening Autumn Pruning: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Autumn Pruning: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

by Gregory
4 minutes read

Autumn Pruning: A Beginner’s Guide


As autumn approaches, it’s time to turn our attention to our gardens and prepare our plants for the winter ahead. Pruning is an essential part of this process, helping to shape plants, prevent damage, and improve their appearance. Here’s a comprehensive guide to autumn pruning for beginners.

Why Prune in Autumn?

Autumn is an ideal time to prune for several reasons. Firstly, most plants have stopped growing for the year, so the shape you give them now will be the shape they keep until spring. Secondly, pruning removes dead or diseased growth, which can help prevent the spread of pests and diseases over winter. Finally, pruning can improve a plant’s ability to withstand strong winds and heavy snow.

What to Prune in Autumn


  • Roses: Prune long, spindly stems to create a more even shape and prevent wind damage.
  • Buddleia: Reduce the length of long stems by up to half to prevent splitting.
  • Cornus: Trim off any stems that have turned brown and remove any thin or straggly stems.
  • Climbing roses: Shorten long, whippy shoots and tie them to their supports. Remove any stems that are not behaving.


  • Evergreen hedges: Give hedges a final light trim in early September to sharpen them up for winter.
  • Avoid pruning conifers at this time of year, as it can lead to bare patches.


  • Cut back perennials like New England asters, lupins, and leucanthemums to ground level once they have lost their color.
  • This will prevent them from becoming soggy and improve air circulation.

Fruit Bushes

  • Blackberries and hybrid berries: Cut out all stems that have fruited this year, right back to the base.
  • Raspberries: Cut back summer raspberry canes to ground level, removing all old, woody stems.


  • Deciduous trees: Remove diseased or splintered stems, branches that are rubbing against each other, and low stems at the base of the trunk.
  • Only prune ornamental trees once they have lost their autumn color.

How to Prune

  • Use sharp, clean tools.
  • Make clean cuts just above a bud or node.
  • Remove diseased or damaged growth back to healthy wood.
  • Cut out branches that are rubbing against each other.
  • Completely remove low branches to lift the crown of the tree.

Tips for Autumn Pruning

  • Avoid over-pruning.
  • Disinfect your tools between cuts to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Shred pruned material and use it as mulch or compost.
  • Resist the urge to shred stems that are too thick for your shredder. These can be used to improve airflow in compost heaps or mark the position of dormant plants.
  • Protect your hands and arms when pruning thorny plants like blackberries.
  • Don’t prune conifers at this time of year.
  • Only prune deciduous trees once they have lost their autumn color.


Autumn pruning is an important task that can help your plants thrive over winter and look their best in spring. By following these tips, you can ensure that your pruning efforts are successful and beneficial. Remember to use sharp tools, make clean cuts, and avoid over-pruning. With a little care and attention, you can keep your garden looking its best all year round.

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More