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A Cut Above The Rest

February 23, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-40.jpgSome gardeners get confused about when and what to prune in their gardens, so this week let’s see what pruning is all about. In nature, plants don’t get pruned, so why do gardeners prune?

One reason is to keep plants healthy by cutting out the dead or diseased parts.

Another reason is to help the plant produce more flowers or fruits, to keep a good shape and also to keep the plant from outgrowing its allotted space. When pruning always take a neat clean cut on a diagonal, sloping away from the bud that you want to sprout.

The important reason for cutting on the diagonal like this is to enable rainwater to run off so that it doesn’t cause disease to enter the plant.

As I have mentioned before, good hygiene is always important in the garden, so when pruning, always keep your secateurs clean as you want to avoid transferring disease from one plant to another.

Different plants have different pruning times during the year and it’s always worth knowing when your particular plant needs to be pruned.

From mid to late March will be the time to prune bush, climbing, standard and miniature roses. With rambling roses remember to prune after flowering is over. The reason for pruning roses is that it stops them from getting old woody stems and it allows the plant to produce new young strong stems, which in turn will produce better flowers.

If you have an established apple or pear tree that is not producing good fruits, then the tree will benefit from pruning. Prune out any dead or diseased branches, also cut out any branches that are rubbing together or where there are too many branches and it is overcrowded.

The aim is to thin out the tree’s framework to let more light in and to allow more air circulation in between the branches to prevent pests and diseased getting a hold.

Also now is the time that you can prune the summer flowering varieties of Clematis back to about four inches to a strong bud above ground level. I know this sounds drastic, but this climber really benefits from a hard prune and will produce more blooms at the tips of the new shoots.

Hydrangeas, Hortensia and Lacecap types can be pruned in March. Cut off the dead flower heads down to just above the next green bud.

With older more established shrubs, cut out some of the old, thick stems at ground level to stop the stems being overcrowded and keep a healthy plant.

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