July is pruning month

Prune Rose

July is one of the most important pruning months in the gardener’s year. It’s the month when many of the winter-dormant plants (e.g. roses) are pruned. Luckily this time of year also suits the pruner as it’s much easier to undertake energetic activities in winter.

Tools for pruning

The most important pruning tool is a good quality pair of secateurs. These should be the best you can afford. It’s a handy tip to wrap some brightly-coloured plastic tape around the handle. This makes the secateurs stand out clearly, even if they are left half-buried in mulch on the side of a garden bed. Keep blades sharpened and joints oiled. Basic maintenance will help your tool last longer.

A good saw is another requisite. Ideally, select one with a narrow blade that can be manoeuvred into crowded parts of the plant.

Hedge clippers are necessary for trimming formal hedges. If this sounds like too much hard work, invest in a pair of electric or batter-powered shears.

And don’t forget a strong pair of gloves – especially for rose pruning! (pictured)

Why Prune?

Here are some of the most common reasons for pruning:

What to prune in winter

Prune most deciduous fruit trees, roses, grape vines and ornamentals. Delay pruning of spring flowering varieties until flowering’s finished, otherwise you’ll cut off the incipient blooms.

Pruning tips

Cuts should, in most cases, be made just above an outward facing bud. This encourages new growth in a desirable direction. However, if using shears to trim hedging plants, cut evenly over the outside of the green growth.

Lowest point of a cut should be even with the top of the bud and slanting upwards at 45 degrees

Large heavy branches should be cut back in stages to avoid unnecessary damage.


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