Pruning of trees, shrubs, hedges and fruit trees
During various months of the year, it is highly recommended to prune you trees, shrubs and bushes. The main period for pruning is winter when most woody shrubs and trees are dormant, and thus can heal faster. Equally, many of the diseases and insects that could potentially invade pruning cuts and cause problems are also dormant, meaning there is less chance of later damage.
That said, pruning is also practiced in spring, summer and autumn, depending on the plant specie and its use. For instance, we prune hedges following the spring growth so that they look perfect through summer, and then again following autumn growth, so they look great for winter. However shaping bushes such as box (buxus sempervirens) is often carried out once a shape or profile is lost to maintain the required look. This kind of pruning requires care and attention to detail to ensure that pruning is not repeated in the same spot year after year, and thus causing weakness in the branches.
Some plants such as wisteria benefit from two annual prunes to stimulate two flowering periods, a highly desirable occurrence for any garden fortunate to have such a stunning perennial. Puning can also be carried out during the spring and summer months to reduce the vigour of trees we don’t wish to grow too tall. Here, care must be taken to avoid large cuts and damage to the tree to prevent disease and pests invading.
But as mentioned winter is usually the preferred time for a lot of pruning, and once the leaves have fallen, it is much easier to see a plant’s form and structure, and as such, the dead, damaged or diseased branches (known as the 3 D’s) are easier to notice and can be pruned out with relative ease. Winter pruning also creates extra root energy reserves, used to heal wounds and support vigorous spring growth, with subsequent spectacular flowering.
A fianl point to mention is thinning the canopy or the base of the plant. This allows light into the centre, improving air circulation, which in turn helps to reduce the impact of pests and diseases. It will allow branches to bud lower down and can be a useful exercise to improve the “bushiness” of some plants that may have been affected by disease.
Benefits of pruning
There are numerous benefits of pruning your trees and bushes, below are just a few: