Pruning in the Fall Like a Pro

Past bloom bee balm before and after pruning at Kalleco Nursery.It’s that time of year. Your perennials are past bloom, your trees are dropping leaves. Getting your garden ready for the oncoming winter months might seem a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a quick break down on pruning and other winter prep tasks.



Cutting back perennials to ground level in the fall at Kalleco Nursery.Once your perennials are past bloom, you can prune whenever. Prune them right on down to the ground. Don’t worry about any remaining flowers of greenery. The thing to remember here is that a perennials life is actually underground in the root system. Robust pruning to ground level gives them a clean slate to start with in the spring. Grasses can be cut down to the ground level as well. But, leaving them up over the winter is fine. Plus, it provides interest, and food for non-migratory birds!

Tip: Irises and other shallow perennials should be cut down at the angle.


Proper pruning technique for shrubs at Kalleco Nursery.Any pruning your do for your shrubs in the late fall should be for shape. Most flowering shrubs are fine to prune whenever you like – usually as soon as their blooms are gone. The best way to prune is to cut back to a point of growth. In the image above, you’ll see Meghan cuts this St. John’s Warm stem between leaves. Cutting between growth points lets the plant seal itself off there.

Tip: There are a couple shrubs you definitely shouldn’t touch this time of year: Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Hydrangeas, and Lilacs. Leave those for the spring!


Evergreens can be pruned virtually any time of year, but it might be nice to roll this in your fall clean up list. Like most shrubs, evergreens should be shaped in the fall. Cut back to a point of growth. Don’t be afraid to get robust! Evergreens are hardy and can handle most pruning.

Other Fall Chores


A bulber tool like this makes putting bulbs in easy at Kalleco Nursery.Now is the time to put spring bulbs in the ground! A couple of our favorites are allium, fritellaria, and the classic, daffodils (surprisingly deer resistant!).  Using a bulbing tool makes this process a breeze.

Tip: While you’re burying bulbs, be on the lookout for critters! Squirrels are always looking for a snack this time of year.


November is a great time to give your garden one last feeding. Like we mentioned before, the life of your perennials is in the roots. A feeding now gives them one last boost to grow down deep, past the frost. Here are some recommendations:

  • Liquid: Holganix Bloom for your flowering perennials.
  • Granular: Holly-Tone for your evergreens and shrubs, and Bulb-Tone for your spring bulbs.

Have a tough question? Don’t be afraid to reach out for help! You can always call the nursery, and even schedule an on-site consultation with Meghan.