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Pruning at the wrong time

How do professional gardeners deal with overgrown/neglected gardens when it's not the right time to cut things back? Are there some plants which could be pruned almost any time even though it has an ideal time to prune? Are there occasions where pruning at the wrong time would be a disaster?
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  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 18,506
    It all depends if you are willing to sacrifice next years flowers. If a garden is neglected you don't always have much choice. Shrubs will grow back stronger and have a better shape.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,456
    In my own garden I cut things back if they get too big, irrespective of whether it's the 'right time' or not.  A prime example this year is Salvia Hot Lips which, despite being cut back hard last year, is smothering a load of other plants.  I'm going to sacrifice the flowers from it in order for other plants to have a fighting chance.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,692
    KT53 said:
    In my own garden I cut things back if they get too big, irrespective of whether it's the 'right time' or not.  A prime example this year is Salvia Hot Lips which, despite being cut back hard last year, is smothering a load of other plants.  I'm going to sacrifice the flowers from it in order for other plants to have a fighting chance.
    IMHO "sacrificing" hot lips is always the best thing to do with it. It's the only Salvia I hate.
    Devon.
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,532
    I pruned my clematis at the 'wrong time ' last year and it's been smothered in flowers for weeks. Sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you don't😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,692
    very often pruning " at the wrong time" is better than not pruning at all. 
    A bit of research beforehand is wise.
    Devon.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,433
    In an overgrown or neglected garden, hard pruning is often necessary, and you can't be faffing around waiting for the 'perfect' time, as BL says.
    At a later stage, you can follow more appropriate times, but you'd be unlikely to kill off anything completely unless you keep hacking things back to the ankles on a regular basis. Shrubs often need rejuvenating to keep them looking good anyway.
    Like Hosta with that salvia, my technique with those pink flowered/golden leaved Spireas is to hack firmly at the ankles until they give up  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • B3B3 Posts: 21,532
    That's my method too and then keep rubbing off the shoots. It saves digging out the roots.  It's worked on rambling rector, goat willow and a particularly viscous berberis.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 631
    Christopher Lloyd (gardener, writer and creator of Great Dixter) always said that it’s fine to do things when you think of it, have the time and the tools to hand.  Better that than not doing it at all. 
  • micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 594
    Prune when the secateurs are sharp goes the saying. Within reason. Nature does not follow a pruning calendar either. For trees I do check to avoid bleeding, or to prune when the sap is rising for stone fruits, but even then I have my doubts.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,692
    Helix said:
    Christopher Lloyd (gardener, writer and creator of Great Dixter) always said that it’s fine to do things when you think of it, have the time and the tools to hand.  Better that than not doing it at all. 
    His parents: Nathaniel and Daisy Lloyd created the garden ( with much help from Sir Edwin Lutyens), Christopher was born there and took over and , arguably , made it famous.
    Devon.
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