Bright-red berries on mountain ash

Five plant types to prune in autumn

We reveal the perennials, crops, shrubs and more to cut back or prune in autumn.

Autumn is the perfect time to remove old growth to get plants into shape.

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Keep in mind, though, that with winter ahead, autumn pruning is only advisable for reliably hardy plants.

Take a look at five types of plant to prune in autumn, below.

Autumn is a good time to prune young plants so that they are shaped correctly from the outset.

1

Perennials

Many plants that have played a star role in borders over the summer will need tidying up by the autumn. Cut back dead stems and top growth to avoid fungal diseases setting in. However, you could leave plants that have attractive seedheads over winter.

Mauve delphinium flowers
Mauve delphinium flowers
2

Cane fruit

If you haven’t prune out the old stems on summer-fruiting raspberries, do so now and tie in the new canes for next year’s crop. Once they’ve finished fruiting, all the canes of autumn-fruiting raspberries can be cut down anytime between now and February.

Pruning old raspberry canes with secateurs
Pruning old raspberry canes with secateurs
3

Sambucus

Sambucus can be pruned while dormant from autumn, once the leaves have fallen, through to winter. Remove old, weak shoots and congested growth.

Removing a dormant stem of sambucus with a pruning saw
Removing a dormant stem of sambucus with a pruning saw
4

Newly planted trees and shrubs

Autumn is a good time to prune young plants so that they are shaped correctly from the outset. Formative pruning is especially important for trees, to ensure a good framework.

Shaping a young tree
Shaping a young tree
5

Ornamental trees

Trees such as acers and sorbus provide beautiful autumn colour as the borders begin to fade. Once the leaves have fallen prune ornamental trees while dormant, during autumn and early winter.

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Copper acer leaves in autumn
Copper acer leaves in autumn

What not to prune in autumn