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When it comes to gardening, fall can feel like a season of preparation: prepare your plants for winter and do some tidying up so you have less work to do in the spring. But if you’ve already planted your spring bulbs, cleared away your patio furniture, and raked all the leaves, next you might be tempted to grab your secateurs and prune your shrubs just before the frost.
But after Enrich Elin SanSone from PureWow, that’s not always a good idea. In fact, pruning certain shrubs at this time of year can actually damage them, she explains in an article for the website. Here are some examples of shrubs that fall into this category.
When you prune rhododendrons in the fall, you usually cut off what would otherwise grow into pink, purple, and white flowers in the spring, explains SanSone.
Just as spring begins to creep in, forsythia is the first to bloom early in the season. And while different types of shrub can become unwieldy, SanSone says nothing to trim in the fall, as this will remove the buds that will grow into the bright yellow flowers of the next year.
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The same goes for lilacs: pruning in autumn means cutting off the flowers of the next spring. According to SanSone, lilac bushes shouldn’t be pruned at all unless you’re cutting off a dead branch.
Part of the appeal of ninebark is its arched shape with brightly colored leaves and dainty flowers that bloom in spring. Pruning the shrub in the fall – or any time of the year – could ruin its shape. As with lilac, you can prune back any dead branches, but otherwise SanSone says to leave it alone.