8 Aug 2012

The Art of Pruning in Your Garden

Posted by bcsands

Did you know that there are times when you should prune and times when you shouldn’t? If not, then these guidelines are for you:-

First and foremost you should know that it’s not often that a plant is killed by pruning, in fact quite the opposite since most plants thrive on a good pruning, so don’t be afraid to snip, cut and saw like a surgeon.

Pruning Tools

Before you can start it is important to have the right tools for the job, and choosing the correct tool for the job is the key to getting it right:-

  • Secateurs – are best for cutting stems up to 1cm thick and no higher than head-height.
  • Long handle (Parrot beak) secateurs – for tough woods up to 4cm thick and no higher than head-height.
  • Bow Saw – for cutting through thick branches and sectioning up long branches.
  • Pole Saw – usually comes on a long stick with long handled tree pruners and can be used to reach higher branches.
  • Pruning Shears – these can be electric or hand shears and are used for shaping hedges and bushes.

Note: pruning plants is not the same as deadheading them. Deadheading, or pinching, is the term used when you cut off dead flower heads in order to prevent a plant, such as a rose bush, from forming seed pods. Instead it simply produces more flowers. This process happens over the course of the flowering period and should not be confused with pruning, which only needs to be done once a year.


Plants to Prune in July, August or September

Late winter and early spring are the most important times of the year in the garden, because that’s when re-growth begins to happen. But before many plants can reach their full potential, they need to be pruned:-

  • Ornamental grasses should be cut back almost to ground level by tying the tops before cutting.
  • Semi-woody perennials need to be pruned back to around 50cm high so that they produce new stems and excellent flowers.
  • Broad-leaved evergreens can be trimmed to shape by selectively cutting out any excess foliage.
  • Summer-flowering shrubs, trees and vines such as hydrangeas and roses should all be cut back and shaped to reduce the size, cut out any dead wood, and removing any crowding to encourage maximum flowering.

Late spring and early summer is the ideal time for pruning any of the following:

  • Evergreen shrubs and hedges. This is the best time to re-shape, thin or shorten this wide variety of garden plants.
  • When spring-flowering shrubs (rhododendrons, lilacs and forsythia for example) have finished flowering for the year, they need a good pruning to ensure they are ready for next year’s flowering.

In mid-summer the only pruning that you need to do is deadheading to encourage new flowers, but come winter there is more pruning required if you have any of the following in your garden:

  • Deciduous and evergreen trees and any pest-prone plants. Prune off any damaged or dead stems or limbs and remove any suckers before they get too big.

Pruning is a very gratifying task because the results are instant. One minute there is chaos and the next there is order. Watching your carefully pruned plants come back to renewed growth is a joy to watch, and one that makes the art of pruning in your garden well worth learning.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply



Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree