Pruning is essential if you want to control the size and shape of your trees and plants and have them perform to their full potential.
Tip pruning encourages your plants to become bushier, which is what you want when you are growing a hedge. Regular tip pruning keeps your hedge compact and dense. Start when the plant is young and pinch off the growing shoots to produce new shoots along the branch. Once the foliage is dense, it is just a matter of regular maintenance to keep its shape.
Regular trimming rejuvenates plants so they produce new growth, with enhanced flowering and more fruit.
Deadheading refers to the regular removal of spent flowers to encourage more flowers. However, you may want to leave a few dead flowers to ‘go to seed’ on your Annuals to plant next year.
Formative Pruning is a method of pruning done during the early years of a tree to establish a shaped framework of branches, making the tree stronger and creating a more aesthetic structure.
It is vital to remove diseased plants and branches straight away. These must go into your Green-waste bin or Garbage bin (not your Compost bin) to prevent the cultivation and spread of the disease. If your local laws permit burning, even better; the ash can be used for soil-enrichment, clay-breaking and/or pH balancing. For more composting tips read Make your Own Compost
When pruning tall hedges, prune on a slight inward angle as you approach the top so that the bottom of the hedge gets enough sun.
To make it easier for you to pick your fruit, control the heights of your trees. You may want to flatten their canopies so you can easily reach the fruit hanging down.
Roses like a hard prune at the end of their flowering season. Remove 2/3 of the bush to just above any bud. I know it sounds harsh but you will be rewarded next year with a bushier plant and more flowers.
When to Prune:
Timing is everything. It all depends on the type of plant or tree and its respective growing season. Generally, the ideal time to prune is when the plant finished flowering except if they bear fruit or you want to save some seeds.
Don’t rush to prune spent seed heads from trees if you want to encourage wild birds into your garden, as this provides food that they like to feast on. For more tips read How To Turn Your Garden Into A Bird Magnet
Finally, water and fertilise your trees and plants afterwards to keep them happy and healthy.
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N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.