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Which Plants to Prune in Late Fall

a pair of hands in orange gloves pruning a tree

Even as the year is coming to an end, there are still some landscaping tasks left to do. There are several types of plants to prune in late fall so that they look their best the following growing season. Most plants are past their bloom season and going dormant, and for some plants like hydrangeas and roses, it’s the best time to trim off the dead branches and flowers. We know it can be a busy season with the holidays, and landscaping is a big task; you can rely on our experts at Sussex Tree to help.

Best Landscaping Tips for the Fall Season

Here’s a list of common landscape plants in the Sussex County, DE, area to prune in late fall. 


Hydrangeas can be tricky since the specific species determines what time of year to prune. A good rule of thumb is if blooming on new wood, like the panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) and smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens), then prune in the fall. If blooming on old wood, like big leaf (Hydrangea macrophylla) and oakleaf (Hydrangea quercifolia), then prune right after they finish blooming at the end of the summer and clean up any branches as needed in the spring. 


Certain shrubs like the well-known Knock Out® Roses bloom on new growth, so the best time to prune these roses is in the fall. Cut them back by one-third and watch them take shape and bloom come the following season!


If you have any perennials that have old foliage and are past their bloom time, now is the time to cut the old stems back to the base, leaving any new leaves intact. Perennials to cut back include daylilies, phlox, astilbe, yarrow, and hostas. Consider leaving a few perennials with seed heads like black-eyed Susans and coneflowers to feed the birds through the winter.


Some choose to cut back grasses in the fall if they want more of a manicured landscape. However, they look great when left through the winter and cut back in the spring. The tufts and textures look great in a landscape as the flowers aren’t blooming, and most trees have lost their foliage. 

If you need help with late fall landscaping like pruning, contact Sussex Tree for maintenance and tree trimming services. Get a free quote or contact STI Landscaping at 302-645-6262.