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When to prune bushes and trees?

tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 234

Im thinking about cleaning-up the garden and getting it ready for winter. I have various bushes/shrubs/trees (hazel, bay tree, damson etc) that are looking straggly and overgrown.

I want to cut it all back and have a bonfire.

Am I ok doing this now, or should I wait until winter, or spring?



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,243
    Don’t prune the damson now, you run the risk of Silverleaf disease entering the cuts. All prunus should be pruned around June when the sap is flowing strongly. 

    I wouldn’t prune the bay now either … summer is the time for them too. 

    You can prune the hazel now but you’ll lose the lovely catkins that would appear in Jan/Feb etc. I would enjoy the catkins and then coppice the hazel (either partially or completely) just before the leaf buds open. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,140
    Whatever you decide,  don't burn it all,  have you got a chipper,  it’s good stuff on your compost heap. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 234
    Hmm, ok, theres obviously a lot more to this pruning business than I thought!  :D I dont even know the names of what half of the shrubs are that need pruning!

    Let me look at this a bit closer and Ill come back on here if thats ok.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,243
    Show us some photos of the shrubs and we'll have a go at identifying them ...  a close up so we can identify the leaves and a 'full length' so we can see what you need to do.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 234
    OK, hopefully this gives you a better idea of what Im working with.

    This is a magnolia thats not been maintained in many years. Do you think it needs cutting? If so should I just lop the top bits off? (not sure how Ill get that high)

    I did actually cut this bay tree last week. It was much bigger. Perhaps I should wait and 'refine' with the next prune.

    My attempt at a hazel hedge. I want it thick, so thats why Im thinking of cutting it back.

    Damson tree. Again, hasnt been pruned for many 10+ years.

    I think this is a hawthorn. Growing over the driveway and scratches car roofs.

    This is a quince plant. Again, I want a thick hedge to block the road noise. So my thinking is to prune to encourage thicker growth.

    I dont know what the following is.

    Ill try and get some better shots later.

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