Basic Pruning Guide

The following advice is only a guide to the general principles of pruning. There are so many variables that need to be considered when pruning that it is difficult to give general advice. We recommend that you do further research before taking out the secateurs. Remember that different plants have different pruning requirements.

  • Always use sharp tools that have been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Ensure that you make clean cuts that slope away from the buds, taking care to cut close to existing branches but not flush with them.
  • If you are unsure whether to prune lightly or heavily, use the plants growing habit as a guide. In the case of slow-growing, compacts prune lightly to maintain shape. With fast-growing plants more frequent, heavier pruning may be necessary.
  • Many shrubs are pruned back to encourage growth and in the case of flowering shrubs this will generally improve the bloom for the next season. Depending on the species, this might be as simple as removing dead flowers. Some species respond better to more severe pruning. Shrubs that flower in spring are usually pruned immediately after flowering, while the deciduous shrubs that flower in summer and autumn are usually pruned in winter.
  • Roses are pruned in late winter. Always remove any dead wood and spindly branches. Cut back stems to just above the healthy outward-facing buds.
  • Before attempting to prune your fruit trees find out which branches produce the fruit. You don’t want to cut off the fruiting branches.
  • Conifers require little or no pruning. In fact, some conifers do not respond well to pruning at all. Investigate the particular species before you proceed.