Experts Tips for Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Pruning Climbers and Wall Shrubs

I don’t prune Wisteria much until it has covered its allotted space. Then I prune the young shoots in August each year by cutting them back to within five or six buds of their base. During the winter, I cut them back further still, to within an inch or two of the older wood.

pruning trees and shrubs - wisteria

The pruning requirements of clematis differs according to the group to which they belong. The jackmamii and viticella groups should have the growth from the previous summer, cut back to within a few buds of their base in February. The alpina and montana groups are trained to form a framework of branches. The side shoots from the main framework are cut back almost to their base in early August.  The florida and patens groups produce their blooms on short growths from the previous year’s shoots. A framework of branches must be built up. When the flowers are over they are cut off just above the buds which can be seen below them. I prefer to treat those of the lanuginosa group in the same way as the jackmanii and viticella groups as plenty of flowers are then produced.

I prune rambler roses in September after flowering. These make a good deal of new growth each year and therefore must be kept thinned out annually. Shoots that have flowered are cut out completely to ground level and the new growths made in the current year are then tied back to their supports.

I prune my climbing roses during February but not so severely as the ramblers. Each year I cut out some of the old wood and leave as much young wood as possible.

Trimming Hedges

Most formal hedges need regular trimming to keep them shapely and well covered with foliage. Although informal ones do not need regular treatment I go over them occasionally with a pair of secateurs to remove any long or straggly growths.

trimming hedges

If flowering hedges are trimmed too hard, they will produce very few blooms. It is inadvisable to let formal hedges get out of hand before trimming them, as this means that hard cutting back will be necessary which invariably ruins their appearance.

A pair of garden shears or an electric trimmer are the most suitable tools for trimming the majority of formal hedges. However, for large leaved evergreen types, such as aucuba, rhododendrons and laurels, trimming is best carried out with secateurs so that the cuts are made on the wood.

If such hedging plants are trimmed with shears, the leaves will be cut and turn brown at the edges. This is very unsightly.

Pruning Trees

Trees do not need any regular pruning as most of them should be allowed to grow to their natural shapes. The only pruning I do, is to remove any dead or diseased wood during the winter and possibly a badly placed or crossing branch.

Snags must not be left when branches are cut out for these will die back and may encourage diseases to gain entry.  Trim the branch off flush with the trunk or main branch as appropriate. Large cuts should be made smooth with a pruning knife, and then painted with a bituminous tree paint to prevent the entry of diseases.

When pruning trees such as ornamental plums, peaches and cherries, this is best carried out in the growing season after flowering in June, July or August. At this time of the year the cuts heal quickly and there is less likelihood of them being infected by Silverleaf Disease.

Removing Suckers

When pruning trees which have been grafted, such as ornamental cherries, peaches and plums, are often troubled with suckers which emerge from the rootstock. These should be cut right back to their point of origin. They may either emerge from below ground or from the trunk of the tree below the graft union.

29. July 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Plants & Trees, Pruning | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Experts Tips for Pruning Trees and Shrubs


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