TheBoldAge looks at some ideas on what to prune and when?
By Hannah Stephenson. Published 2021-02-02BOLD-Living
Don’t lose a mass of flowers by pruning your prized shrubs at the wrong time. TheBoldAge looks at what to prune now, and what can wait…
What to prune and whenThe general rule of thumb is that if your shrubs are deciduous and flower from late summer to autumn, then you can prune them in spring.Before new spring growth starts, you can tidy up some woody plants, pruning broken stems which are rubbing up against each other, taking them back to a healthy bud or a main stem, and generally getting shrubs back into shape while they are leafless.Plants including Buddleia davidii, potentilla, fuchsia, dogwood and wisteria can be tidied up now. Buddleia davidii is a vigorous shrub, which will come back stronger, so you can cut the stems down to 20cm high.Cut back old wood hard – old wood looks rougher and darker – to a low bud to encourage strong new growth which will bear flowers in the same year.
Cut back wisteriaThis glorious climbing shrub, whose purple flowers adorn the walls of houses during the summer months, needs pruning twice a year – once at the end of summer and again in late winter.Cut back last season’s long sideshoots to two or three buds. This process produces spurs, which allow the fatter buds to remain and bear larger flowers. It’s also a good time to tidy the plant up generally, removing wispy growths, says the RHS.
Deal with dogwoodDogwood, which is grown for its colourful winter stems, can be cut down to the ground. This will re-energise the plant and encourage many new colourful stems for next winter.
Watch the weatherIn milder areas, start to tidy up bush roses, removing thin shoots and dead, diseased and dying stems. But if the weather is really cold, wait until next month.Timing can depend on where you live. If you’re in a really cold area, leave hard pruning until March, as pruning stimulates growth and any resulting young leaves may be damaged by frost.
Cut certain clematisYou can also prune large-flowering clematis (group 3) such as Clematis viticella and hybrids such as C. ‘Jackmanii’ and ‘Etoile Violette’, which flower in late summer, cutting the stems back down to 30cm (12in) to promote good growth.Prune to a ‘nodal point’, just above a pair of leaves or buds, where the cut is more likely to heal. If you cut where there aren’t buds, you could end up with fungal infections and die-back.You can also tackle winter-flowering jasmine, untangling the strands and cutting out dead, diseased and damaged stems. To give it a sound framework for next year, tie in new stems to the support system and trim back the sideshoots to within about 5cm (2in) of the main stem.
What not to prune nowAvoid pruning shrubs whose flowers are produced on shoots which developed in the previous growing season. The flowering shoots should be cut as soon as they have finished flowering, to allow new shoots to form.These include spring and early summer-flowering shrubs such as forsythia, which blooms in March and April, weigela, kerria and philadelphus (mock orange).
Help overgrown shrubs feel betterWhile it’s still cold enough, you can renewal-prune overgrown shrubs but don’t go mad. Just take it in stages, removing some of the oldest branches each winter so that the plant will slowly rejuvenate, replacing those old branches with new ones over time. Within a few years, your shrub should have been revitalised with strong, healthy young growth.
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