Spring pruning made easy

 

Walking through the garden this week, one thing is clearly evident; spring has come early this year.  The peach trees are starting to blossom and all around the garden, buds are swelling heralding the end of winter and the start of spring.  We are sure to have a few chilly days left, but it seems as if winter’s icy grip is finally slipping away.

With spring around the corner it is time to spring clean your garden.  One of the tasks that need to be tackled first is pruning.  No matter which plant it is that needs pruning, after reading this post you will be pruning like an expert.  Involve the whole family by making it a competition, see who can prune their lot of plants first and as a prize have them pick out your next eating out spot.  Pruning can actually be very therapeutic, try and think of it as pruning a big Bonsai.

Why is it necessary to prune plants?  The main reason for pruning any plant is to produce new growth, which will produce better blooms or fruit and at the same time promote a neat and tidy plant.  Always bear in mind that new growth after pruning can be very sensitive to frost.  Let’s have a closer look at the art of pruning

I always prefer making my pruning cuts just above the bud at a slight angle and where possible have the bud facing outwards.

Roses:

  • First start off by cutting away any dead or diseased growth and tiny twigs.
  • Remove any growth older than 2 seasons as roses flower best on new growth.
  • Prune all bush type roses back to knee height whilst, the head of  standard roses can be pruned back by half.
  • Miniature and groundcover roses are best pruned back by half with a garden shear.

Fruit trees:

  • Pruning your fruit trees into a vase like shape will allow more sunlight to reach the centre of the tree thus providing more fruit.
  • Peaches only produce fruit on new growth no older than 2 years so feel free to prune them back quite vigorously.
  • Shorten branches by about 15-30cm from the base of the previous season’s new growth.

Perennial shrubs:

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs back as soon they have finished flowering, whilst summer flowering plants can be pruned back by middle August.
  • Prune them back by a third whilst the more vigorous growing shrubs can be pruned back by half.

After pruning seal any wounds with Steriseal and if scale is a risk I would recommend spraying with Oleum, which is a mineral based oil that cannot burn the buds.  Now for the cleanup, instead of throwing everything away in refuse bags, rather cut up all the stems into smaller pieces and add them to your compost heap.  That’s enough talk for now, time to get outside and start pruning for a colourful spring.