My false spirea has buds on it! I live in zone 3. I was just going to prune it back to the ground because we have to pile snow in it’s area and that will break the branches. But it has buds on it. Is that not unusual for end of October in zone 3? Can I still cut it down without harming it?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardeners.
False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia) is a shrub that blooms on new wood. The buds you are observing are emerging from this year’s growth due to the warmer October. Although it is a very forgiving shrub, it is always advisable to wait until the spring for hard pruning. However, I understand that due to snow piling, you may want to reduce its size a little to avoid harsh breakage of its stems. A general rule of thumb is to prune out 1/3 of the branches. Next spring, it will develop new stems that will contain the new flower buds for that year, so you do not need to worry about it this fall.
You may also wish to refer to the following website for additional information on spring pruning : www.canadiangardening.com/how-to/techniques/tips-for-spring-pruning/a/1566
Best wishes for a good winter.