Sorry but another pruning question!

dave125dave125 Posts: 134
I've only been gardening around four years now and as I began from a totally  blank canvas things are starting to seriously mature and do need a bit of a trim. Don't get me wrong I've done a bit but I'm always nervous in case I trim at the wrong time and the plant is ruined for the year. At the moment I'm thinking March/April is the best time but does that apply to all the following? (These are the few that I'm most unsure about)
Skimmia, Bramble (nope not ornamental but it's huge and I love it), Buddleia, Shrub type Salvia (hot lips etc), Dwarf Lilac, St Johns Wort, Vinca, Woody Hebes, Fuschia, Rose (standard & climber)
Also is there a standard procedure, ie a third off and cut just above a new growth bud etc. I always relied on my neighbours/freinds for advice but they've all moved away now.
Thanks in advance
Lots of luv Dave
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,004
    Brambles can be hacked at any time.
    Skimmias wouldn't normally be pruned at all. Cutting back will mean losing flowers/berries  for that year.
    Neither would Vinca or Hypericum. You would simply remove bits of those two that were outgrowing their space. It will do no harm. Avoid doing it when there's severe frost approaching, but even so, those two will recover.
    Buddlieas are done in late winter/spring for their main chopping, but you can take them back by about a third at this time of year of you want. It prevents them getting rocked around by wind if they're in a more exposed site.
    The lilac will flower in spring, so best left till after flowering. 
    Salvias are usually left to give some protection from cold weather. Again, trim back after flowering if needed. 
    Hebes - sometimes they don't recover from cutting back, so it's best to tidy up after flowering. If they've got too big, the best method is to remove stems right back to the main stem/trunk, rather than cutting the whole thing back too far. 

    I don't grow roses or fuchsias but the care of them will depend on the types you have. Hardy fuchsias are also different from the blousier ones, which aren't hardy unless it's a very warm area you stay in. Those usualluy need winter protection of some kind - greenhouse etc. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,745
    Bramble, anything that’s had fruit on this year, cut right back to the ground.
     Buddleia,   I cut mine right down low at the start of April.
    outdoor hardy fuchsia, end of February,  greenhouse house ones when they start to shoot out, could be March depending on your weather.
    Shrubby salvias, end of March.
    Roses around March. 
    I don’t cut hebes down too much, they don’t really like being cut right down so I do cuttings of those to exchange when they’ve got woody.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • dave125dave125 Posts: 134
    Thanks everybody, that's really helpful!!!!!
    Luv Dave
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,745
    Dave, when you read cut a third off, they mean cut one third of the stems/stalks/branches right down to the ground.  So if you’ve got twelve, you cut four right out.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • dave125dave125 Posts: 134
    Lyn, thanks for taking the time I honestly was going to cut it to one third existing height!
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,745
    With the Buddliea you can do that now,  cut a third off the top, just to stop wind rock, I don’t but a lot of people do.  Depends how tall it is now, they’ve very hardy and will take anything really. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Been gardening for 32 years, as a job self employed for 12 years.
    Pruning skimmia comes under group of shrubs people say never prune and that is wrong. Its down to if its getting to big and is in need of a reduction as its taking over where other plants and shrubs are. If you need to prune then prune it, best time just before spring when new growth appears. I had to lift and remove one from a garden as the customer did not want it, by the time i got round there they had hacked down all the shrubs. You could see it was over a metre in diameter before they had cut it down. I put it in a pot and its slowerly recovering one ive kept for myself than rehoming to another customer! Thats the point people give and say never need to prune. Mainly as they are so slow at recovering same as Rhododendrons and Azalea and Camelias also Pieris. All part of the Ericacous family of shrubs.
    Brambles grow very fast and can have ground root as deep as 2 metres deep. Depends where you have it located to how often you need to prune it taking into account how much bearing arms you want. Best keep tied growing arms in a way you can access all the fruit. Then once they have had to growing seasons you can cut right down to the ground so after several ground frost to help it go doormant and will get new growth than coming spring.
    -Salvia Hot Lips you can prune regularly through flowering season to cut off flowering stems that have finished to help keep it looking tidy and help with new flowering growth. Again once we have had several ground frosts and its leaves have all dropped cut down to 8 inches.
    -Dwarf Lilac is as soon as the flowers are finished.
    -St.Johns Wort is again down to if its getting to big for the space its in or yearly prune. If to big for space then its down to also if you want to keep height. If height reduce by 2-3 foot depending on arms the new growth is on. It should have growth growing outwards and not crossing over other main branches. Plus remove dead, damaged growth as well.
    -Vinca is another one if taking over cut back harder in winter and yearly prune early spring.
    -When you say wood Hebes there is different varietys some you can not prune as they do not grow back and others back as hard as neccessory again depending on how you want to keep it. I pruned one after flowering its over 2o years old cut down to just over a foot high and cut out all dead growth cross arms and its recovering nicely. If you have photos or know the names make it easyier to give best way forward to help with pruning.
    -Fucia again best with photo and surrounding to get perspective of how it should be prunned. Some varieties once frost has helped cut down to about 8 inches then harder just before new growth or new growth is starting to show to 2-4 inches. Customer of mine has one by a side wooden portch that i take off 3-4 foot once doormant and trim back through growing season to keep out of way of the entrance. Still left with 3-4 foot growth.
    Rose different groups and so some share same pruning technics and other do not. A -Standard Rose pruning lightly in November/December as untill we've had several ground frosts you give it a hard prune it will put on new growth. March hard to harsh prune depending on if there is week growth cut off completly. Healthy growth diameter 1.5cm-2cm thick and again prune reduction depends on size height of standard and what your wanting in look compact or more open standard. Ive been restoring Roses for long time and it can not all be done in one go either as you can revert the thick growth to thinn and weak growth. Customer has Roses that are 35 years old and im coming up to 3rd year of reduction as you want year by year to remove older arms but doing so not to revert them.
    -Climbing Rose depend on what group they come from and photo will help with that.
    There is no standard procedure, only that some shrubs can be put in same groups as when to prune them. Thats called the Pruning Group, all of the above shrubs you can look up online and find some of the advice your after. Rest of the advice is asking people who do this for a living or a hobby. Thats how i have learnt.


  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,949
    The RHS has a very good little book on pruning shrubs. It lists them all by name with their pruning requirements but lots of tips. Well worth the effort to try and find it. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 27,004
    Perhaps I should have clarified about my comment re skimmias. The problem is that people often plant shrubs [not just skimmias] without considering their eventual size.
    Skimmias rarely get beyond a metre or so, but you see small ones being purchased and plonked into borders crammed in beside other things.
    Of course, when that happens, 'something' eventually has to be pruned, and skimmias certainly can, as can all shrubs of any kind, but it would be better if they were planted properly to start with, and given room to grow.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,041
    Can I echo the comment by @hogweed. The RHS series are excellent for this kind of thing.
    AB Still learning

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