Pruning is an essential garden maintenance task which helps to keep our plants in great shape (quite literally!) and in good health too.
Carrying out this task at the right time of the year for each plant type can make a huge difference to their performance in the year ahead, and it should help to ensure that you benefit from lots of gorgeous flowers, healthy growth, and an abundance of delicious fruits.
February is a great time to prune wisteria, roses, summer-flowering shrubs and winter-flowering shrubs which have finished the year’s display. It’s also the right time to cut back deciduous grasses which have been left uncut over the Winter, and also to tend to our raspberries.
We’ve concentrated our feature on deciduous grasses and raspberries – so here’s how it’s done!
We’re cutting back a beautiful Miscanthus, which has provided structure and interest over the Winter. It may seem a shame to cut such a plant down, but by doing this now, we’ll ensure another great display for the forthcoming year.
There are several approaches to pruning deciduous grasses but the quickest treatment for these robust plants is simply to cut the whole clump back hard.
If you look closely at the base of the plant, you can already see the new growth beginning to appear.
Using a sharp pair of secateurs, start cutting your grass down close to the ground as Marcus is demonstrating below and carefully work your way across the whole clump. Remember to chop down the waste you generate and add it to your compost bin!
When you’ve finished, your grass clump will be short and spiky – but your new growth will soon start showing again, ready for another great performance!
Autumn and summer-fruiting raspberries are treated differently when it comes to pruning, because of the different way in which they produce fruit.
These produce fruit on canes which are in their first year of growth – after which they are no longer required – so you can simply cut all of your canes down to ground level.
These produce fruit on canes which are in their second year of growth – so each Winter you need to cut out those canes which produced fruit last year, and leave those which are still to fruit. Telling the difference between them is straightforward – canes which are in their second year are ‘branched’ and those in their first year are not – simply identify your second year canes and cut them out.
When you’ve removed the second year canes, it’s a good idea to take a look at the remaining canes. Take out any very small ones which will obviously come to nothing, and remove canes where crossing occurs – if these are left they will rub against each other and let in diseases and pests.
If your remaining canes are densely packed together, it’s a good idea to thin them out to an average spacing of around 9”, and also tie them into wire supports to stabilise them. You can also decide how tall you want your canes to be and trim any that are taller – remember to always cut back to just above a bud.
So now you’re armed with pruning know-how, be sure you have the right tools for the job!
We have a great selection of secateurs and other garden tools in stock, plus a range of beautiful ornamental grasses if you discover any gaps while pruning. And if you need advice about other plants then pop in to see our friendly team of experts who will be pleased to help.