The Importance of Pruning

The importance of pruning and cutting back cannot be underestimated if you're going to get the best out of your plants and prevent them from outgrowing the space that they're in.

During March, there's still time to complete February's pruning of summer flowering deciduous shrubs if you haven't done so already, and it's also not too late to complete your rose pruning but don't leave it any later than this month. Winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering can also be pruned during March; this will let more light into the garden and allow them plenty of time to develop buds for next winter. Lavatera, buddleia (butterfly bush) and cornus (dogwood) can also be pruned. Make sure secateurs are sharp when pruning; you should be able to achieve a nice clean cut. Blunt secateurs will only crush or tear leading to frost or disease damage. If you have no means of sharpening, then it's often just as convenient to buy a new pair each year. Thicker stems and branches should be removed with a pruning saw.

Once your spring shrubs have bloomed, cut them back. Remember to mulch and feed shrubs, hedges, trees and climbers once pruned to give them the energy that they need for extra growth after cutting back.