Prune This, Not That! A Landscaping webinar with Andrew K. Becker

Local landscaper Andrew K. Becker joins Maggee Miggins to discuss fall pruning in this fun and informative webinar. Knowing when to prune your plants and bushes, where to prune, and how to prune is extremely important.

The first thing to consider is the lawn. Your lawn is always a work in progress, and it's crucial to maintain the lawn either by yourself or by a certified lawn maintenance specialist. If your lawn has burned out spaces, is patchy, or been overrun by pests, getting a lawn specialist is vital.

Should you seed your lawn in the fall or the spring?

Andrew is a proponent of seeding the lawn during the fall as you'll have better weather, more moisture, and you won't need to tend to it as much. Now is a good time for aeration and overseeding, soil and seed your lawn, fall fertilization, and grub control. Consult a certified lawn applicator for any projects that might seem overwhelming for the typical homeowner.

What to Prune

Fall is the time to lightly and naturally prune your boxwoods, holly trees, laurels, and arborvitaes. Ensure that you don't over prune the trunks, which can sunburn if not shielded by branches. Less is more when it comes to pruning.
The green giant arborvitae is one of the most common trees in New Jersey. They grow 18 inches per year and are deer resistant. They also keep their skirt, meaning the branches go all the way to the ground. You can tip prune the top of the arborvitae to branch out a little bit more, and they make a great privacy fence.

What not to prune

Don't prune your roses, hydrangeas, azaleas, or annual grasses such as switchgrass, Hamlin, Miscanthus, Carex grass, Hakinachloe, or Tree peonies. If you cut these back too much, you can lose blooms for the entire next season. Tree hydrangeas, however, can be hard pruned.  Tighten them up a bit, and they will come back well without losing their blooms. Tip pruning is only appropriate to balance out the sides.


Do not prune any annual grasses. Grass is pretty drought tolerant once they get their roots in the ground and can take care of themselves.

Fall color

Everybody loves color, and fall is a great time to add fall cabbages, chrysanthemums, Celosia, peppers, sunflowers, kale, container plantings, pansies, and urn plantings. Color helps sell the house and simply makes people happy.

Dividing perennials

Perennials will multiply for years of enjoyment. They should be divided in the fall if you want to create more flowers and bushes. To divide a perennial first dig a circle around the edge, pop it out of the ground, and cut it into pieces to divide. When replanting, use a plant saver mycorrhizal healthy start fertilizer to promote healthy root systems or Espoma Plant-Tone, a non-burning, organic fertilizer. Peonies, hostas, and Shasta daisies are easy to dig and divide.

For additional information or if you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected] or call our office at 973.376.8990. We'd be happy to help you!

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