Once you learn how to prune shrubs, it’ll make garden maintenance a lot easier. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and it can improve overall performance, flowering and much more!
Some deciduous shrubs require being pruned in winter. This is due to to them shedding their leaves and sending the food preserves to their roots. If pruned earlier in the year it removes those important food reserves in the green leaves. However, there are some shrubs that benefit from spring pruning depending on when they flower, so check before you start snipping!
Step 1: Check your tools
The tools you used to prune your shrubs can make or break the process. Whether you are using anvil pruners or bypass loppers. Or maybe even small powered tools like chainsaws, wood saws, or a metal hacksaw for thicker branches and trunks. It is vital that your tools are sharp enough to create a straight, clean cut.
Step 2: Where to start
Always cut branches on a slant at a 45 degree angle. Flat cuts are dangerous as they bring the possibility of inviting fungus or disease to your plant. Rainwater slides off a slanted cut. When proceeding to prune, you should cut just above what’s known as the ‘branch collar’. The ‘branch collar’ is a bumpy ring that is filled with plant growth cells, and gives the shrub a better chance of recovering from the cut.
Step 3: Where to prune
‘Heading back’ is a well known technique that gives your shrub a natural look. To achieve this look, locate the tallest main branch. Follow this branch until it meets a lower side branch that points upwards. Cut the main branch off just above the smaller one. Repeat this process with all the main branches, but make sure to continuously access your work. Remember that new growth will give additional height, to prune slightly lower than expected.
If done correctly, then over the next couple of months your shrubs should be growing healthier and stronger than ever. Pruning is an important part of garden maintenance and shouldn’t be ignored.
The best time to prune acers is when they’re dormant during November and December. But it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your knowledge to ensure you’re ready for when the time comes. The reason we prune acers whilst they are dormant is due to the sap they bleed when pruned which weakens the tree. It is also best to keep the pruning to a minimum as to keep the natural shape of the tree.
Acers are a great addition to any garden, and make an amazing centre piece for any garden. With leaves that turn beautiful shades of red, crimson, orange or yellow in Autumn. As slow growing and compact plants, acers are especially great for smaller gardens.
One thing to be aware of when planting acers is that they grow best in a sheltered position, and need to be protected from wind and frost.
How to prune
In order to keep this natural shape start by removing the badly-placed or crossing shoots to encourage the natural framework of the tree to grow. When reducing the width and height follow the long branches back to the side branch and prune.
Why we prune
Pruning is much more than sawing off branches. Pruning encourages growth, increases flowering and improves overall plant health. Here are a few others reasons to prune your trees:
Strengthens tree structure
Improves tree health
Reduces the risk of dead or weak branches
The key to making sure your acer continues to grow steadily and healthily is to only prune back to a well-placed side branch. Leaving it as a stub will make it susceptible to decay and dieback. Also remember to take out any dead, damaged or diseased wood.
Whether your acer is the main garden event or just a beautiful addition, keeping on top of its maintenance can ensure that it will take centre stage.
Roses are a hardy plant and are often happy to grow undisturbed, so it can be difficult to tell when to prune your roses. However, light pruning at the right time of year helps to promote healthy growth and flowering as well as helping to maintain a sensible size for your rose plant. To see your beautiful roses effortlessly bloom year after year, it’s best to prune them at the start of each year. But when? and how?
Keep reading this rose pruning guide to find out how and when you should be pruning your roses.
When Should You Prune Your Roses?
Your pruning window may be slightly different depending on where you live. For example, if you live in the south, you can get away with pruning in mid-February. If you live further north, you should probably wait until March when the weather is warmer. Pruning can also depend on the type of rose plant.
Rose Shrubs should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England, or in the second week of April when you get further north.
Climbing Roses shouldn’t be pruned for two years after planting and then only sparsely, removing unnecessary growing tips. It’s best to prune this rose type in autumn.
How to Prune Roses – Best Methods
For most roses, you can prune in late winter. Take care to remove dead/diseased wood and deadhead faded blooms which can be done with your annual pruning. Cut no more than 5mm above a bud with a clean, sloping cut away from the bud so water cannot gather. Keep your secateurs sharp for a clean cut.
Pruning Tip 💡 – Use fertilizer on your roses once you’ve pruned them to encourage healthy growth throughout the year!
Loved for their long lasting presence and rich colours, is it any wonder that Clematisplants are one of the most popular climbers on the market. To ensure healthy growth and encourage more flowers, pruning is an important part ofClematis care.
When it comes to pruning it can be hard to know where to start, so we’ve compiled an easy gardening guide to show you when and how to prune Clematis plants.
When does your Clematis flower?
The key to knowing when to prune your Clematis is knowing when your plant blooms. If you’re unsure, wait until your plant blooms and then match your Clematis to the correct flowering season.
When to Prune Clematis?
For young Clematis plants, give a hard pruning to one or two of the healthy base stems in the first spring after planting.
Here’s our seasonal pruning guide for established plants:
Prune the vines right after they finish flowering in spring. The new stems that grow will then have enough time to make flower buds for the following year.
Winter/Spring flowering Clematis plants:
Thin out and disentangle stems before growth begins in late winter or early spring. In late spring or early summer, go over the plant again after the earliest flowers fade and severely shorten the stems that produced flowers.
Spring/Summer flowering Clematis plants:
Late Summer/Autumn flowering Clematis need a hard pruning annually. Cut back all old stems to the first pair of healthy buds (around 15-30cm above ground level). If left without any pruning, these Clematis will become top-heavy and produce very few flowers.
The sun is out, spring flowers are at their peak, and summer is on its way! With June just around the corner, learn how to keep your garden looking beautiful all-season long with our top 5 essential summer gardening tips.
1. Watch the Weeds!
Weeds can be inevitable, even in the most well-kept gardens. As the weather gets warmer, the weeds come out, but there are ways of deterring them from growing in your garden. We recommend:
Weed after it rains when the soil is moist
There are many types of fertiliser on the market, so make sure to find a fertiliser will work best in your garden. The healthiest gardens use some type of fertiliser because most soil does not provide an adequate amount of nutrients to plants and flowers. A mid-summer application to boost the colour and condition during the hottest months
3. Watering Schedule
The very best time to water plants is in the early morning or late evening, while it is still cool. This will allow the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plant without too much excess water lost to evaporation.
4. Pruning Shrubs
Early summer is the time to prune many of the spring-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela. Prune off growth that has just finished flowering down to an outward facing bud, along with any damaged or crossing branches within the shrub, which should be removed either to suitable growth or completely.
5. Finish Planting Annual Bedding Plants
If you didn’t have time to plant out your tender bedding plants in May, there’s still time to get them into the ground or their new containers as soon as you can in June. Make sure to place them in good light, so they do not become drawn and spindly in the shade.
Throughout summer, regular deadheading will keep them looking fresh and neat and you will quickly realise what brilliant value for money bedding plants are.Have a happy, flower-filled summer.
February invites the first signs of spring into our gardens; days are lengthening, bulbs begin to emerge from the ground, and colour in the garden is just around the corner. This month is about cleansing (after the Latin word februum which means purification), and there’s no better time than now to give your garden a little TLC in preparation for spring.
Remove faded flowers, such as Winter Pansies and Violas, from containers to encourage them to flower more during spring and prevent from going to seed.
Deadhead early flowering plants such as Primulas regularly to encourage fresh flowers.
Remove any dead or decaying leaves from container plants to avoid encouraging slugs and snails in early spring.
Deciduous grasses which have been left unpruned over winter should now be cut back to the ground.
Remove dead material from evergreen grasses to make space for new growth in the coming months.
Tidy up decaying material around perennials and remove any leaf litter to discourage the slugs and snails as they arrive in early spring.
Prepare your cut flower beds by removing any stubborn perennial weeds, such as brambles or bindweed, which may be hiding.
If the soil is particularly stony, it can be sieved and raked until the texture is nice and fine.
Borders can also be given a boost by adding organic feed such as chicken manure and seaweed.
Looking after your lawn:
Remember to keep off the grass when there’s a frost, as the blades are more susceptible to damage which could lead to lawn diseases and other problems.
Ensure you brush off any debris or leaves which have fallen onto your lawn, as they can smother and cause discolouration to the grass.
Towards the end of the month, if the grass has produced some growth, you may be able to give your lawn a light trim with the lawnmower.
Planting Summer Bulbs
There are many lovely late-spring and summer bulbs which although usually planted in the autumn, if you missed that slot, early spring provides another opportunity. Below are some beautiful bulbs suitable for planting this month.
There are always things to do in the garden in December. These simple gardening tasks will offer some calm and relief amid the busyness of the festive season. So, here are our top jobs to get done in the garden this month.
Don’t smash the ice on a pond with a spade as the shock waves could kill fish or other wildlife. Create a breathing hole by putting a rubber ball in the water before it freezes, removing it once ice forms.
With the bank holiday weekend upon us and a heatwave on the horizon, it is the perfect opportunity to get out into the fresh air, enjoy the garden and finish off your summer gardening jobs in time for bulb planting season.
There’s lots to be getting on with in the garden, so here are our essential jobs for August.
Prune shrubs and climbers (Wisteria, Pyracantha) to keep your garden tidy.
Prune and shape hedges and evergreen hedges before they stop growing in the autumn.
Cut long-flowering perennials to the ground, such as Hardy Geraniums.
Trim back lavender after it has finished flowering.
Sweep your patio and trim any small weeds as they germinate.
Hoe the soil to keep weeds down. This should be done in warm, dry conditions to ensure that any weed seedling left on the surface will dehydrate and die.
Remove pond weeds with regular debris cleaning.
Water plants that need it regularly.
Water in the morning or late afternoon/evening to prevent the water evaporating in the heat.
During hot spells, splash water on the floor of your greenhouse to bring the humidity up.
Mow weekly but reduce frequency and raise blades if the weather is hot and dry.
Lawn weeds are usually prominent and need pulling or treating.
Apply a high phosphate fertiliser at the end of the month to benefit the grass roots.
Keep bird baths topped up with fresh water.
When deadheading, leave some flower seedheads as food for birds and small mammals.
Deadhead Buddleia bushes to keep them flowering into the autumn for bees and other insects.
Start ordering your spring-flowering bulbs now. You can start planting bulbs such as Narcissi, Crocus and Hyacinths from September onwards.
Order Prepared Hyacinth and Indoor Narcissi bulbs and pot them up so that they will be ready for December.
Ask most gardeners to name the task that fills them most with dread and fear, and pruning will almost certainly come to mind. This doesn’t of course need to be the case. With a little planning and preparation in advance then we can easily maintain the long term health and vibrancy of the garden.
Pruning is the process of removing particular parts of a tree, plant or shrub on a regular basis, such as branches, shoots, buds, etc. The overall goal of pruning should be that of extending the life cycle of the plant.
Most pruning is a simple do it yourself job, and it’s very important …..
Why do I need to prune?
To promote healthy development – removing the old, dying or weak branches from the trees/shrubs will allow the structure to become stronger and flowering to become more prolific leaving your with a more healthy and disease free plant.
To help maintain the ornamental appearance – Removing damaged or wayward shoots will stop the branches from becoming unnecessarily entangled and messy.
To remove diseased or dying wood – Essential, and will make the tree/shrub less appealing for insects to live within.
To control height and shape – If you are looking to keep certain plants, such as climbers or vigorous growing shrubs from becoming unmanageable, then regular and hard pruning will be a must.
To promote flowering and fruiting –pruning back helps to improve flowering and air circulation. With fruit trees in particular this should result in a much better and larger crop year on year.
To identify problems – By keeping regular pruning you will in turn identify any potential problems which may occur from time to time.
Ornamental trees and shrubs can be pruned and trimmed to keep healthy and shapely.
Timing can vary significantly between different varieties, but as a general rule:
Evergreen shrubs will require little pruning unless branches become damaged. If you do find the need to remove damaged shoots on varieties such as Japanese Azaleas, Hebe Heartbreaker or Rhododendrons then it’s best to do so after flowering has finished for the season.
Deciduous shrubs and trees are best pruned in late autumn and winter, although we always recommend checking specific varieties before your start working. Some varieties will only need minor trimming such as Hydrangeas or Spiraea while clematis and climbing plants often require hard pruning.
As a starting point cut back and remove all dead and diseased wood. Always work with the natural habit and structure of the tree or shrub, to encourage continued natural growth. This can be followed up with removing any crossing or rubbing branches at the centre of the plant. By removing these branches which can act as a barrier to further growth, you will in fact improve circulation around the shrubs/tree, helping to reduce the likelihood of plant disease.
When removing stems, we suggest cutting at a little above healthy buds, cutting back around 0.5cm above. Never cut back and leave short stubs. Make all cuts perpendicular to the branch and close to the branch collar to facilitate rapid healing.