- To preserve the shape of a plant
- To restrict the size of a plant.
- To encourage productive growth (eg rose pruning or fruit tree pruning).
- To remove dead wood.
- To remove old canes from the base (eg abelia, reinwardtia, may bush).
- To thin a canopy and allow air movement through branches.
- To form plants into special shapes – topiarising or standardising.
- To encourage colourful new growth – photinia.
- To maintain a hedge or screen.
- To ‘stop’ plants and encourage branching growth.
What to Prune, When?
- Deciduous fruit trees, grape vines and ornamentals
- Spring-flowering shrubs and blossom trees, after they finish blooming
- Roses that only flower in spring, after they have finished flowering
- Summer-blooming plants such as fuchsias, hibiscus, impatiens, plumbago, geraniums, abelia, buddleia
- Diosma, choisya, grevilleas lightly after flowering
- Frost damaged parts of plants
- Hedge plants
- Remove oldest canes from clumping bushes such as May (Spiraea) bushes or philadelphus
- Spent flowers on shrubs and perennials
- If desired, hard prune roses to encourage autumn flowers
- Remove long canes on climbers such as wisteria and jasmine
- Prune flowered hydrangeas shoots to two plump buds
- Trim hedge plants
Pruning Fruit Trees in the Home Garden
- Apples – remove weak growth and reduce overcrowded shoots.
- Almonds – lightly cut back in June. Timing is critical to prevent disease.
- Blueberries – remove old, weak branches.
- Cherries – remove some fruiting spurs every 3-5 years.
- Chinese Gooseberries – main pruning in July, shorten growth in summer. Develop four main leaders and allow fruiting spurs to develop from these. After three years, remove these spurs to allow development of new spurs.
- Citrus – citrus need little pruning, but to prevent collar rot, it’s a good practice to remove lower branches so that there is plenty of air movement around the base of the plant. Very old citrus can be rejuvenated by skeletonising to the main branches in spring. Follow up by fertilising to promote new growth.
- Grape vines – prune to develop an upright main stem that branches into horizontal stems. Allow laterals shoots to develop every 40-50cm along the main stem. Each year, shorten laterals back to two buds.
- Peaches and Nectarines – Open up centre of plant during first years. Shorten long shoots.
- Mulberry – little or no pruning. Remove dead wood.
- Passionfruit – remove excessive leaf growth and cut fruiting laterals back to two buds.
- Plums – shorten long, pendulous growth. Open centre of plant.
- Pears – shorten upright growth to develop horizontal branches.
Espalier and topiary produce plants cut into specific shapes. Choose plants with small leaves, close growth and the ability to produce shoots all along the stems.
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