Many plants benefit from a general pruning during late autumn or early winter. The specific plants which should be cut back are listed below, but let’s first consider why we prune plants to begin with.
What should be pruned now:
- Dense growth makes it very difficult for light and water – both essential for healthy growth to penetrate to all parts of the plant. Pruning allows the light in and ensures better air circulation (which means fewer cases of fungal diseases and insect pests).
- Old trees and shrubs tend to develop very long, spindly branches. Cutting these off forces the plant to sprout new, stronger branches or shoots.
- Pruning can remove dead or diseased branches.
- Pruning also helps to keep your garden neat and preserves any pleasant views that you may have from your garden.
- Summer- and autumn-flowering shrubs, like Pride of India, ceratostigma, ribbon bush, barleria, hydrangeas and wild dagga.
- Climbers like golden shower, canary creeper, clematis and wisteria
- Evergreen fruit trees like citrus trees.
- Conifers will benefit from a gentle pruning now to keep their shapes regular.
- DON’T prune roses yet – wait until the second half of July or the first half of August before doing so.
Before you start pruning, make sure your secateurs are clean and sharp, and grease all the moving parts well. It’s a good idea to invest in a pair of elbow-length gloves if you’ll be pruning very thorny or spiky shrubs.
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