Pruning in Autumn

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Investing in good quality pruning equipment is the first step for effective autumn pruning. Autumn pruning will keep your garden looking good through the winter and most importantly make it more productive in the spring and summer.

Why Prune?

  • To keep a plant healthy.
  • To remove branches that become infected by disease, damaged by animals or storms.
  • To control its shape and size.
  • To produce more flowers and fruit.
  • To encourage growth.

Pruning Equipment:

There is a cutting tool for each job, look for equipment that is made from high quality material, although they are costly, they will last a lifetime.

  • Sharp, clean secateurs – for cuts up to 1cm.
  • Loppers – for cuts up to 2cm.
  • Bow saw or pruning saw – for larger cuts.
  • Shears – for trimming hedges and cutting back ground-cover, roses and lavender

Three Important Tips for Pruning:

  • Always cut above a branch, leaf or bud – don’t leave a snag of wood as this may lead to a disease infection.
  • If the buds on the plant you are pruning are opposite each other, cut straight across the stem about 0.5cm above the buds.
  • If the buds are on alternate sides of the stem, choose a bud that is pointing in the direction you want it to grow and cut at an angle pointing in the same direction as the bud and about 0.5cm above it.

Pruning Tips for Shrubs:

Follow the tree D’s: cut out any dead, diseased or damaged wood. Next, remove any crossing branches and anything that is in the centre of the plant. How much you cut out depends on the type of shrub and how naturalistic you want your garden to look. Always stand back and look. Aim to create an open shape, with plenty of space for new growth. It’s better to cut out three to five of the oldest stems each year than to remove too much.

Pruning Tips for Formal Hedges:

Especially pertaining to Box, Privet or Sweet Laurel hedges. Start by pruning the top flat. If the hedge is not too long, you should be able to cut by eye, stepping back occasionally to check your progress. If you don’t trust your eye, hammer two stakes into the ground and stretch a length of string between them to use as a cutting guide. Next, cut the sides, making the top narrower than the base. Brush off trimmings from the top of hedge and from the base of the hedge to prevent the spread of fungal diseases.

Pruning Tips for Branches:

Use the three-cut method to remove large branches: make the first cut in the underside of the branch, about 60cm from the trunk. Cut no deeper than a third of the branch diameter. Make the second cut on the top of the branch 5cm from the first. This cut should sink until the branch snaps and falls to the ground. The third cut is the ‘flush cut’, a single cut made to the raised ring, or collar, at the base of the branch, so all that remains is a smooth surface.

For professional tree care, maintenance, pruning and felling we strongly advise you to bring the tree experts in – and now is the ideal time to have them in.

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