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TIPS ON PRUNING
Best tools for pruning are sharp secateurs and a pruning saw with a narrow blade.
When to prune
How to prune
To keep a base of a hedge leafy cut into a pyramid shape in Spring, so that the top is narrower than the base. If a hedge is pruned wider at the top than the bottom the lower part will be shaded and the foliage will fall off allowing the top growth to spread, compounding the problem.
If a hedge is too dense, cut it back to the main stems on one side only. Let the hedge recover and produce new growth for a year, then cut back the other side.
If the hedge has become too tall, cut back every second shrub to within a few inches of the ground. New shoots should sprout around the severed trunks. Cut back the remaining shrubs the following year.
Privet, Yew, Holly, Berberis, Forsythia, Roses and Spiraeas respond well to hard pruning.
For climbers that flower on new growth, e.g. Buddleia, Clematis Jackmanii, Winter pruning is best.
For climbers that flower on previous year's growth, e.g. early flowering Jasmine, Forsythia, Honeysuckle and ornamental Quince, prune after flowering.
March is the best time to prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses. Cut out dead, diseased or thin wood and trim back the main shoots. When cutting back main shoots count buds from base of each shoot and cut just above the second or third one. N.B. The length of shoot is less important than the number of buds.
Shrub roses are best pruned in winter. As both old and modern roses produce most of their flowers on shoots produced from old wood, prune lightly. Remove dead, thin and decayed wood and shorted main stems by about one third.
Prune rambling roses in Autumn. Cut untidy, flowered shoots right down to the base and tie new shoots to the trellis or support. If there are a few new shoots, leave some of the flowered shoots in place cutting back just a little.
Climbing roses are also best pruned in Autumn. Remove any crossing or thin shoots and reduce the height of the main stems by about one third. This prevents them being blown about by the wind. Remove any side shoots that spoil the shape and cut back the others by about two thirds.
Miniature roses should be pruned in March. Cut off any dead, diseased or thin wood and trim back the main stems to about one third of their length.
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