If you’re not a keen gardener, you might be daunted by the idea of pruning. But pruning is essential to keeping the plants in your garden thriving. Follow our 5 tips and we’ll get you’ll be able to prune like a pro in no time.
1. Know the reasons to prune
There are four main reasons why you should prune:
- If branches could cause damage to buildings or make contact with powerlines
- To encourage flowers and fruit to grow
- To improve the health of your plants
- To direct growth
There is one big reason that people often thing is a good reason to prune: to control the height of a plant. This isn’t a good reason – you will just be fighting the plant as it tries to reach its natural size. Try helping to shape the plant or tree instead.
2. Remember the 4 D’s
The four D’s refers to the idea that you can prune anything on a tree or plant that is dead, dying, diseased or damaged. In fact, you shouldn’t leave anything that falls into these categories as it could cause the whole plant to die if left.
It’s much better to remove the four D’s even if the plant won’t look very nice for a while. It will soon repair itself and look more beautiful than it did with unhealthy branches attached to it.
3. Support your trees
If you think you need to top your tree, you’ve got the wrong size tree in your garden. If this is the case, you should think about replacing it or just letting it grow naturally.
If you do top a tree, it will damage the shape and create weak points which could make it break later on. Instead, you could thin out the tree and remove larger branches from the inside. It won’t affect the height, but it may make it fit better in the space around it.
4. Don’t create stubs
Don’t even prune branches to make a stub. Follow the lines of branches, taking into account the natural flow of the plant as it grows. There are two types of pruning cuts you should know about:
- Heading cuts: Cutting off part of a branch to make it stronger and create more small offshoots from it
- Thinning cuts: Removing a branch where it begins, whether that’s the trunk or a side branch, to prevent new growth.
5. Know the exceptions to the rules
There are some instances where you wouldn’t follow these pruning rules, such as decorative or fruit tree pruning. If you decide to create an unnatural shape for your plant, beware that you will have to spend more time caring for it.
Whilst you’re still learning the basics of pruning, it’s best to keep to natural shapes to keep your plants healthy.
If you’re still not confident enough to give pruning a go, don’t worry. There are plenty of gardeners in our network of trusted contractors that will be happy to assist you.