Sunday, 14 March 2010

Pruning Hints & Tips

After this long winter most of us are just starting on our pruning jobs. Just to get you in the mood here are some tips.

The purpose of pruning is to rejuvenate the shrub, so that it produces new shoots and better flowers.

Flowering deciduous shrubs and climbers can be divided in two :

Shrubs and climbers that flower on last year’s growth and flower early in the season, up to July.


Late flowering shrubs that flower from July onwards, flower on current year’s growth.

Early flowering shrubs and climbers should be pruned immediately after flowering by shortening their branches to a point just above a strong new shoot. Remove 1 or 2 of the oldest stems at the base each year.

If you wait too long with pruning, the shrub will have developed new growth on the old branches and it becomes difficult to have a clear view of what should be pruned.

Shrubs belong to this group are :
  • Philadelphus – Mock Orange
  • Jasminum nudiflorum – Winter Jasmine (tolerates hard pruning and thinning)
  • Early-flowering clematis, if pruned lightly it may flower again later in the year
  • Buddleja alternifolia, weeps even better if cut back after flowering
  • Rambling and old shrub roses

Late flowering deciduous shrubs should be cut back every year in spring. It is best to establish a framework by pruning the shrub hard back after the first year. From then onwards last year’s growth should be cut back to within two or three healthy pair of buds of the old framework.

Shrubs belonging to this group are :
Buddleja davidii
Late flowering clematis, can be cut back to knee high
Climbing and bush roses (hybrid teas, floribunda, modern shrubs)

    Evergreen shrubs should be lightly pruned, some of them like Ceanothus (early) dislike heavy pruning. Hebe (late) prefer to be pruned every two to three years.

    [Bibliography: The Royal Horticultural Society – Pruning & Training; The Telegraph gardening section]

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