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Hesitant on weigela pruning

Stephanie newish gardenerStephanie newish gardener Aberdeenshire/Moray coastPosts: 453

Hello

I know I'm asking lots of questions at the moment but I'm feeling a bit uncertain about how to do a few things and I am keen to get them right if I can, so here is a possibly daft question about pruning the weigela

I have an excellent RHS pocket book of pruning, but I also have an old weigela that I started to renovate last year before I had started learning too much about what to do and when. I used a few basic principles but mainly that of enthusiasm and a desire to cut out the old stuff and help this poor plant grow better after letting it get some light by cutting down an old fir tree

By some chance I clearly did the right thing because this year it flowered lots more than it has done before and is starting to get some shape.  So to this year's pruning.... Yes, I know it is late, but we had a flood, a wedding, visiting family and then a parent in hospital, so lots of things are late this year.

The RHS book says to cut back flowered stems by a third, and this is where the possibly daft question comes in.  The flowers actually appear on quite short stems off the main longer stems, so I think it is the main stem I should be cutting back. If I take a third off some of the stems that will still leave the end of this year's flowers, or on some stems it just leaves old bare wood.

If the shrub wasn't looking so much better this year I would just go in boldly and cut off what I think at random.  But I really don't want to undo what I have managed to achieve. So here are some pics with my thoughts and I would really appreciate it if someone can point me in the right direction, and maybe tell me to stop thinking about it so much and just do it!

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This stem is an example of if I cut off a third then all I have is old wood. So do I assume that's right because the growth it puts on in the rest of this year will be the flowering stems for next year?

image

This one has new growth at the top and flowers further down. If I cut off the flowered bit I lose the new bit (obviously), so is that the right thing to do or do I leave it, complete with the dead flowers?

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Or could it possibly be that these tiny stems with flowers on are the ones I should be cutting back?  That seems not right because then how does that re-shape the plant?  Well it doesn't, so this is potentially where I have answered my own question but am left with this annoying uncertainty in my own ability...hmmmmph!

And finally....

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This is the whole thing, which you can see has developed a leaning habit over the years as it was under a tree.  It has some lovely new growth at the bottom and lots more leafy growth as well as the flowers it had.  So whatever i did last year definitely helped, hence being keen not to get it wrong this year.

Apologies for the length of this (why just ask 'how do I prune this', when I can bore you all with loads of details?) so if anyone is still reading and has advice it would be welcome

Thanks

And for any other uncertain gardeners, please see this thread that I have just started http://www.gardenersworld.com/forum/the-potting-shed/the-uncertainty-of-gardening/1003123.html

Posts

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687

    You are really pruning for shape and creating a shrub with many side shoots and branches that can still bend. So, if you like to keep that arching shape, then don't touch the main stems. But, as you saw, the base had new growth, and that is a result of you pruning back down there, so the thick main stems can be pruned quite severely and you will not damage the shrub.

    Because you have only three, I would suggest you cutting at least one this year down to at least two thirds. They should be pruned that way for some stems to regenerate the shrub to produce new branches. I know it's a bit daunting as it's so old and thick, but this is due to it not being done for a while and that then means, you will not have many leaves and branches in the spring and summer time. With the rest of the other branches, prune them back by at least half.

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