Tips for Trimming Your Trees and Cleaning Up Your Yard This Fall

by ChickFix
2 Materials
1 Hour

This post is sponsored by Gardena. All opinions are my own.

Depending on your climate, the seasonal change into fall brings a lot of changes to your yard. Here are a few clean-up tips to help keep your trees healthy, minimize pests, and have a bring back a beautiful lawn in the spring.

The best time to prune and trim trees is during the cooler months when the tree is dormant. Removing dead or dying limbs will elongate the life of your tree, but you may have other reasons for wanting to prune. For instance, I routinely trim the base of this Magnolia tree in my front yard, so that I can see oncoming cars as I back out of my driveway. You can see the healed collars where I have trimmed in years past.

Once the leaves have dropped off of deciduous trees in late fall, it’s easier to see (and reach) the framework of the branches. Additionally, the threat of insects and tree diseases are minimal during this time of year. They go into a slow-growth period during the cooler months, giving the tree plenty of time to heal any “wounds” caused by trimming before the spring and summer growth seasons.

Identify the limbs to be pruned. Small limbs can be handled with a good set of loppers.

For larger limbs, start by cutting into the limb from the underside, 1-2 inches from the “collar” (the spot where the limb meets the trunk, which sometimes might bulge a little). This will keep the bark from stripping away from the trunk when you cut it from the top.

Next, cut the limb from the top, further out from the collar than the cut on the underside.

Finally, cut the remaining stub off of the tree as close to the collar as you can, without damaging it.

If you feel bold, or if you have a lot of trimming to do, a chainsaw can be incredibly helpful. Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines, and never cut anything higher than your head!

Fruit trees in particular benefit from good pruning. In fact, pruning is essential to encouraging blooming and fruit growth. Unless you live in a tropical area which stays warm and sunny year round, you’ll want to trim after blooming is complete and fruit has dropped, typically no earlier than late fall. 

Trim any dead or unhealthy limbs and snip away any sprouts from the base or vertical sprouts from branches. 

Thin out the less productive branches from the interior of the tree to let more sunlight reach the other branches. Finally, trim the remaining branches by cutting off about 25% of the previous year’s growth. This ensures that the limb will remain strong enough to hold new fruit during the next growing cycle.

A great lawn needs plenty of sunlight, even in the winter months. So if you want to have a nice looking lawn in the spring, it’s important to clean up any leaves or debris from the grass. Dead leaves are also a breeding ground for insects, which can be quite damaging to your grass. I prefer to use a leaf blower for this purpose, but a rake works great too, and would certainly give you a better workout!

Another option is to simply mow over the leaves!

But dead leaves aren’t entirely bad. They return vital nutrients back to the soil, and provide habitats for moth and butterfly pupa. Composted leaves can also be quite beneficial to gardens. So if you are an avid gardener, you might consider creating a compost pile for future use. 

If you have fruit or nut trees in your yard, the Gardena Fruit Collector is a great way to clean up all the fallen fruit! 

Simply roll the Gardena Fruit Collector over the fruit/nuts, empty it when it’s full, and go back for more.

It works on pinecones too!

Visit for more details on the combisystem Fruit Collector, an efficient way to collect fall fruit & nuts, and a great way to save your back!  

Resources for this project:
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation
  • Miss Daisy Miss Daisy on Oct 12, 2021

    When you cut a tree you're supposed to spray it with a black tar like spray , forgot what it's called , to protect the tree.

    • Wyldecent Wyldecent on Oct 12, 2022

      No. It does more harm than good they have found. Google it