The Best Time to Prune Trees and Shrubs

By Christina Timm

Things to Consider Before You Prune Back Trees and Shrubs

There have been a lot of questions about the best time to prune back trees and shrubs. There are two factors that determine the best time to prune: 1.) If your tree or shrub blooms and if it does 2.) when does your tree or shrub bloom? There are exceptions to the rule so be sure to do some research or call 763-420-4400 and ask for Donna before you prune.

General Rule for Pruning Trees and Shrubs


Spring blooming tree or shrub: If your tree or shrub blooms in the spring time, it is best to prune when the flowers are done blooming and have faded.

Summer blooming tree or shrub: If your tree or shrub blooms mid to late summer, it is best to prune during the winter while the plant is dormant, or early spring before it blooms.

Tree or shrub that does not bloom: If you have a tree that does not bloom at all, it is best to prune during the winter while it is fully dormant, or any other time other than Fall.

Do Not Prune Any Type of Tree or Shrub in the Fall.

Fall is never a good time to prune. Any time you prune a plant its natural reaction is to produce new growth. If this happens in the fall the plant will not harden off properly and will have trouble going into dormancy. This can cause problems in the spring and can even cause problems coming back.

For Trees: Dead branches should always be removed as soon as possible.


When thinking about pruning a Hydrangea shrub there are two things to think about: 1.) what time of the year to prune and 2.) how much to prune back. Just like with any other tree or shrub it’s important not to prune back the foliage in the fall


So, when is the best time to prune a Hydrangea?

The best time to prune for a Hydrangea is right after it blooms, and the flowers start to fade. Something you may not have known is that blooming plants start forming their buds for spring the fall beforehand. So, if you wait too long to prune, there is potential that you are reducing your amount of spring buds. The absolute latest you can prune your Hydrangeas is August 1st. This way you can ensure you are not cutting away any buds that will become spring flowers.

So how much do I prune back?

For Hydrangea shrubs it’s important not to prune the entire shrub back! Some hydrangeas bloom on existing wood. This means new blooms emerge from old wood. If you prune back a Hydrangea shrub to the ground removing the old wood, you are also removing any new buds for its next bloom time. Not all Hydrangeas bloom from existing wood, but it is still recommended not to completely hack down the shrub. Play it safe; for any Hydrangea wait until the flowers have faded and then remove the flower head to about 12-20” down.

Garden Tip: Cut Hydrangea flowers can be hung upside down to dry out and then used in spruce tip arrangements for the holidays.



The best time to prune newly planted Rose Shrubs is early spring. So just after spring’s final frost and after the plant breaks from dormancy prune roses back. Also, you should never be pruning your roses down to the ground unless there is severe damage, dead wood, or disease. Most established Rose shrubs can handle a harsh pruning, cutting 1/2 to 2/3 of the shrub’s height. This helps older shrubs rejuvenate by removing old, woody stems.


The best time to prune a Lilac shrub is right after the flowers turn brown. Lilacs are early bloomers and they set their buds early for the next year. This means any pruning in June or later in the season takes away any new bud formation for the following year. Most Lilacs don’t need any pruning until they reach about six to eight feet tall.

Learn the difference between freeze and frost.

Freeze versus Frost: Can I still plant in October?

By Christina Timm

Freeze versus Frost

People sometimes use the words freeze and frost interchangeably. However, even though they can occur at the same time, they represent two different changes. A freeze happens when any air temperature reaches 32 degrees or below, the freezing point of water. Plant cells are made up of water and when we reach a temperature at or below freezing this causes the plant cells to turn into ice, breaking open the cell walls and destroying the plant tissue. Most of the time this happens when the plant has already gone dormant. A frost happens when the air temperature reaches 32 degrees or below and there is a lot of water vapor in the air. All the water vapor turns to ice crystals creating a frost on the surface of the plant.

Can I still plant in October?

As we head into October and the temperatures continue to decrease you might be wondering if it is safe to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees. The answer: Sooner is better than later! Minnesota is at risk of frost/freeze on average early October. But we all know that mother nature can be very unpredictable, so sooner is always better than later. So far, we have only had one night in the freezing temperatures and for the most part our low temperatures look to be in the 40s for the coming week. With that said it is best to plant early in the fall so plants have enough time to establish and become winter hardy. However, there is still time to plant and take advantage of amazing end of the season sales.

How do I know if the freeze will affect my plants?

Every plant is different therefore whether the freeze actually damages your plants depends on many factors: plant species, shelter, how long the temperature stays below freezing, and how frequent it lasts. Houseplants and tropical plants are very susceptible to temperature change and we would recommend bringing those in the house if you haven’t already. There are some annuals that are hardier then others that will be able to withstand some very cold temperatures like Kale, Garden Mums, Pansies, and some foliage plants. Other annuals like Sweet Potato Vine, Coleus, and those with thin, delicate foliage show more visible signs of stress from the cold temperatures. To prolong your annuals’ life span you may bring them inside your home or garage, pull them close to the house, or cover them with a sheet for some shelter. Perennials, shrubs, and trees can handle the first couple of freezes and will go dormant before we start to see consistent low temperatures at or below freezing. They do not need to be covered if they are hardy for our Zone (4.)

There is Still Planting to be Had!!

Discover a new perennial grass that could add some texture to your garden! Keep reading.

Find out what we have left growing for you! Keep reading.


Fall Container Planting

By Christina Timm

Just this past Saturday we had our Fall Planting Party. With such an amazing turnout and interest, we want to share our experience and knowledge, just in case you missed it. Here is the breakdown of the Thriller, Filler, Spiller method with some examples of what plants can be used.

Toffee Twist Grass

Toffee Twist Grass





Garden Mum

Garden Mum

Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny




Our Favorite Fall Annuals

By Christina Timm

I think we can all agree in wishing that fall lasted just a little bit longer than it does. Why? Because who doesn’t love pumpkins, apple cider, changing leaves, and campfires? Although autumn means the end of summer, it also means the start of something new. For some it means the start of school, for others the nearness of winter. But for us autumn means bold color, leafy texture, and creativity. At Lynde we want to make color last through the season.

Here are 5 of our Favorite Fall Annuals:


The blooms on a Celosia have been described as soft and feathery like a paint brush. Coming in red, gold, orange, and yellow they provide bold color and are a great thriller to any combination. The blooms emerge from bright green foliage. The Celosia is a great way to add texture, height, and color all at once.

Fresh Look Red

Fresh Look Red


Grass can add texture and beautiful brown tones to a fall combination. This grass is further enhanced when paired with orange, gold, and burgundy flowers. Its wispy nature creates wonderful movement. The Toffee Twist Grass is a great way to add a whimsical, rich texture drawing the eye closer.

Toffee Twist

Toffee Twist

The Garden Mum

The Garden Mum is the ultimate fall choice of flowers. With their mounding nature and bold overall color, the mum is a great cool weather plant. Coming in warm colors like tangerine, gold, burgundy, and plum they make amazing fillers for a fall combination. The Garden Mum offers a fullness that other plants can’t.

Belgian Mums Mika Orange

Belgian Mums Mika Orange

Flowering Kale

Flowering Kale offers large, flowing foliage with white or purple centers. This leafy foliage provides texture and is one of the most cool weather-resistant plants for fall. Most Flowering Kale can withstand the first frost, which enhances its color. Add Flowering Kale to your next fall combination to provide filler and green foliage.

Pigeon White Flowering Kale

Pigeon White Flowering Kale

Ornamental Peppers

The Ornamental Pepper is a great addition to any fall combination. Different varieties come in reds and yellows, oranges and yellows, and reds and purples. They can add a little fire to a fall combination in need of a little flair of color. Peppers grow to about medium height offering a filler of crisp green foliage and shades of warm fall color.

Blaze Ornamental Pepper

Blaze Ornamental Pepper

We now have a selection of pumpkins, gourds, and straw bales. Warm up your home with everything autumn at Lynde.

Need help creating your very own Fall Planter


Growing Fall Color

By Christina Timm

Fall is a wonderful time of warm, rich colors. From perennials to shrubs to trees it isn’t hard to find a plant that provides the fall color everyone enjoys. Listed below are a few perennials, shrubs, and trees that can be planted and enjoyed for this fall season. All these plants are hardy to withstand Minnesota winters with the proper care and acclimation to your yard. With any new perennial, be sure to water thoroughly during its first year in your yard to ensure optimal root growth. Be sure to keep up on pruning and deadheading to inspire healthy foliage and new growth. Each plant is different, so be sure to talk to a garden center team member to ensure the best health of your plant. For help call 763-420-4400.


Minnesota Hardy Mum

We are offering 9 different varieties of Minnesota hardy mums. Thinking about adding a mum to your garden? Right now is the best time to plant mums. For the best quality mum be sure to plant 18-24 inches apart and provide a decent amount of sun. The mum is known for their mass of showy color for the fall season.


Perennial Rudbeckia

The perennial Rudbeckia can add a pop of gold in your garden. Also known as Black-Eyed Susan for its black centers and yellow petals, this plant blooms from mid-summer well into fall. The Rudbeckia is best planted in full sun to part sun and can be used as a back drop, providing height in your perennial garden.


Hardy Asters

Hardy Asters are wonderful additions by adding fall color with their sturdy structure. The bright pink bloom is a welcome contrast against yellows and oranges. The Aster thrives on the sun and achieves a max height of 15”. It is a very dependable fall plant and easy to grow.



Ninebark - ‘Lemon Candy’

This particular Ninebark is known for its bright chartreuse foliage that complements the warm colors of fall. This shrub matures into a compact, rounded shape providing symmetry. This sun-loving shrub is covered with white blooms in the summer and holds its bright green foliage from spring to fall.


Weigela - Tuxedo

The Weigela Tuxedo is known for its dark purple foliage contrasting well with fall golds and yellows. This compact shrub only reaches about 3’ in height and is great in a smaller area. This Weigela likes sun and is covered with white, bell-shaped flowers that stand out from its foliage.


Champlain Rose

The Champlain Rose is known for its hardy and disease-resistant nature. The bold, double red bloom is a great way to add a pop of rich color for fall. This rose blooms throughout the summer and reaches about 3’ in full sun.



Quick Fire Hydrangea Tree

The Quick Fire Hydrangea tree is known for its compact, ornamental tree form. With rusty pink blooms and bright green foliage, it provides warm tones during the fall season. This tree achieves about 8’ and does best in full sun.


Technito Arborvitae

The Technito Arborvitae is great because of its dark green, dense foliage. The soft texture of its foliage creates a delicate yet full backdrop for fall-blooming perennials. Provided with the right amount of sunlight this Arborvitae can reach 10’ tall.


Check out what’s new in our garden center. Our fall collection of plant material is here! Pumpkins and gourds are now available. Straw bales and cornstalks soon to come!