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Autumn Pruning

October is the ideal time for pruning many deciduous trees and hardy shrubs. Much of their foliage is still holding tight and this will help you to see which branches and stems to remove. Also, pruning now will allow the cuts time to heal and dry before winter sets in, thus reducing the likelihood of any disease. So, let’s get started!

So, why is Pruning Necessary?

– Keeps the plant healthy by the removal of any dead and diseased branches.
– Maintains a good shape and contains the size of the plant.
– Allows light and air to reach the middle of the plant, both of which are necessary for good heath. – Stimulates growth.
– Prevents plants being damaged by wind rock.

What to prune in autumn?

– Prune roses to about half their height to prevent them being damaged and loosened by wind rock. When spring arrives you can then cut back harder.
– Flowering shrubs that bloom on wood formed the previous year.
– Deciduous trees and hardy shrubs, with the exception of plums and related species. Because they are susceptible to a fungus called silver-leaf disease plum and their relations are best pruned in summer.


The decision as to which tool you choose to use will depend on the height and size of the plant you are tackling. Most importantly, the blade needs to be sharp and clean. Leaving a ragged cut is an open invitation for disease to set in and that’s the last thing you want to happen.

Available pruning tools are::
– Pruning Knives – great for small jobs and for tidying up any ragged edges
– Secateurs – again great for the smaller jobs.
– Long-handled pruners – great for those out of reach stems and branches
– Shears – ideal for hedging and for bushy shrubs
– Saws – useful for those thicker branches


Whole books have been written, dedicated to the art of pruning. Different types of plant need different types of pruning and certainly it’s far too complex a subject to be tackled in a short blog. So, before reaching for your secateurs do a little research and read up on the best method for your particular plant.

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About Lis

Our Suttons Blog comes from Lis Wallace, Head of Customer Service here at Suttons since 2002. Living on the edge of Dartmoor Lis has a large and “somewhat tricky” garden split across several levels but with the bonus of a stream tumbling through and a large, fertile veg patch. Across the blog Lis will share some of the knowledge she has gained over the years from her father, from working at Suttons and also from her own trial and error. Storm the Jack Russell is bound to chip in now and then. That’s what terriers do!

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