26 Dec Beneficial and essential Winter pruning
With all the Autumn hues gone, the garden is now a mix of evergreens, leafless trees/shrubs and perennials that have died back. Get those secateurs out, as it is time for some Winter pruning…
Winter pruning is highly beneficial and has a huge impact on the growth and flowering of your shrubs, trees and perennials for the coming season and even, well beyond that. With most plants being leafless, it’s also the best time to enhance the shape through the correct pruning. One thing you want to avoid, is the pruning of shrubs that may be Winter or early Spring flowering as you may miss the show!
Waiting until mid-Winter, after we have had several hard frosts, means that the plant are most certainly dormant. Any time before the onset of Winter, you will be encouraging a flush of new growth which will be harmed by the inevitable hard frosts to come.
Start by cutting back any perennials which have completely browned-off. It may be worth leaving more tender perennials with the Winter growth still on, to offer protection for the plant against severe frosts. I always start with this as it is the most rewarding…
Grasses are an exception to the rule and are best left for late February, as the brown seed heads attract birds and the foliage may even provide shelter for them on a cold night.
You can then move on to pruning any diseased, damaged or dead branches off shrubs and trees. After this is done, more structured pruning will be necessary with some trees and shrubs requiring specialised pruning – such as some fruit trees and Wisteria.
Make sure that after all the pruning is done, that you do a thorough clearance of all debris and leaves, as this may blow up against smaller evergreens and cause rotting. It’s also the ideal hideout for… slugs and snails!