Tips and advice on early spring pruning – part one
On a fine day it’s easy to get carried away with your pruning but by following our handy hints you can get the best from your efforts and have some fun too.
Some plants are not grown for flowers but for their foliage, or their stem colour. A number of these can be pruned in the early spring. An example would be the Spireas with fantastic early spring foliage of golden or bronze.
Wait until the shoots start to show and then prune them really hard. The plant will respond with a huge flush of fresh growth with really powerful colours. This group of Spireas also flowers late on in the year so more blooms will be a consequence too!
Others in this group include the Dogwoods such as Cornus alba varieties which tend to have really good stem colours. Again wait until the new shoots start to come and then either prune all of the stems back to within about nine inches of the ground or select a third of the total number of stems for the cull. New growth will be vigorous and will be most impressive in terms of colour next winter.
Other specific examples of plants that need pruning about now include the Wisteria. This beautiful climber needs pruning in two stages once it is established. The first is in July when the new wispy growth needs taking back to about two or three buds of where it started that spring – usually around four to six inches.
The plant will shoot again and the second round of pruning can take place in February where a similar procedure will take those stems back to a couple of buds of where you pruned in July. This reduces the vigour of the plant, promotes flowering and allows the flowers to remain clear of the leave as they come out in the spring.
Roses too need to be tackled in the early spring with Hybrid T and Floribundas being prune hard back to promote new growth. In gardening books of old, we were told to prune back to an outward facing bud. Nowadays trimming with a hedge-trimmer has been found to give similar results!
Once pruning has taken place be kind to your shrubs and a small handful of Vitax Conifer and Shrub fertilizer will show them that you mean no harm and have their best intentions at heart!