beginners pruning your plants
The two fundamental reasons for pruning plants are health and balance. But although most beginners to gardening fear this subject more than anything else, pruning is only really a problem for those growing award winning displays and not for the average gardener.
The plants health is improved by removing old and damaged stems, this in turn promotes healthy new growth which improves its production of flowers or fruit.
| One method of reducing the amount of pruning required is to plant shrubs the right size for your border or pot, so pruning is not required to restrict the size of the plant.|
If shrubs show signs of neglect, it is beneficial to prune one third of the plant right to the ground in early spring before the growth starts.
Over a few years this stimulates a total regeneration of the plant, and can then be reshaped in subsequent years to produce a healthier and more productive plant.
pruning shrubs to remove diseased branches When pruning a shrub, firstly start with the three Ds, remove all Dead, Damaged and Diseased branches. Doing this will keep the shrub healthy, and make any subsequent pruning easier, as you will be able to see any lop-sided limbs, or congested areas. Remember hard pruning promotes more vigorous growth than light pruning - bear this in mind!
| Some shrubs also benefit from pruning to ensure an abundance of flowers - generally the safest time to prune these is directly after a plants flowering period. |
Every shrub has its optimum time for pruning, and it is best to check when this is before getting the loppers out!
cut above buds with secateurs, loppers or pruning saws Congested shrubs also tend to succumb to moulds and fungus through lack of air flow through the stems.The plants balance is also improved by pruning, allowing the gardener to train its growth direction, restrict its size & shape, balance the growth with its flowering, and improve appearance.
Try to cut just above an outward pointing bud, as this is where the growth will start, giving a more natural look to the shrub.
| One last note, if the tool you are using to cut branches is not cutting cleanly, either sharpen the blades or move on to a larger tool, from secateurs, to loppers and then onto a pruning saw. If the cut is ragged and torn, infection and pests can easily enter the plant. |