When to Prune?

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Many people are unsure as to when you can prune plants. Generally, as a rule of thumb if you prune in the winter you will stimulate growth for the following spring and summer. If you summer prune you are encouraging flowering growth. This is especially noticeable in fruit trees and bushes. Evergreens such as Conifers or Laurels used as hedges should also be pruned in summer so that they can recover their shape before winter.

In late winter, plants grown for stem colours such as Cornus (Dogwood) are pruned hard to encourage new brightly coloured stems. This is referred to as ‘stooling’. When carried out on trees it is called ‘pollarding’, trees that can be pollarded are Tilia (Lime), Eucalyptus and Quercus (Oak).Other plants that should be pruned hard in late winter are Buddleja, Caryopteris, Perovskia, Romneya, Rubus (coloured bark varieties), Salix (coloured bark varieties) and Sambucus. When pruning Camellia, Mahonia and Rhododendron it is best to leave them until after flowering, and when risk of frost has passed. If you prune these evergreens heavily then expect a year of little or no flowering until growth compensates.

Always remember to apply a good balanced fertiliser such as Vitax Q4 after pruning to encourage healthy growth and flowers.

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