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When to prune

I keep a gardening calendar, where I add notes for each month's tasks as a yearly planner. I know lots of pruning needs to be done in March and as it's the 1st tomorrow, is it too early to start? I know a frost straight after pruning can damage shrubs, but there is such a long list of stuff to do in March, I just can't wait to get started! And the sun is shining which is spurring me on!



  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Here-there are a lot of swollen buds just wanting a bit of warmth to break-the roses are shooting and definitely need doing-you cant do much harm to make a start-it is not so much the exposed tissue that is at risk from frost but tender shoots-though think you will have to be pretty unlucky to get it wrong now

    Get snippingimage

  • Many thanks ! Secateurs at the ready!

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190

    I have made a start just now on my buddlia, hydrangeas and hardy fuchsias.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • lydiaannlydiaann Posts: 298

    I've completed all of my pruning over the last month.  I've learned through experience over the years that, provided the shrubs/trees/perennials are planted in more or less the right position, then judicious pruning from February 1 is just fine.  For example, I lived in Canada (Vancouver, wet/mild winters generally) for 20 years.  About 6 years ago we had terrible storms at the beginning of January that ripped up tens of thousands of trees and wrecked a lot of people's gardens (and also houses where the trees fell on them).  I had no option but to take out 90 percent of my Clematis montana and 95 percent of my winter jasmine.  A large limb had to come off the Cotinus cogyggria (3.5 m. high) and off the dogwood tree; the 2 beautiful Pieris also had 25 percent of their branches removed because of damage from the winds followed by heavy snow; other smaller plants also suffered.  Although I had fewer blossoms for the first year, each of the plants came back more vigorously than ever; since then, I have had no compunction about hard pruning and its benefits.  Go for it!image

  • I think it depends on what your pruning, some of the advise has been to do it over the last few weeks, some is to wait for a week or so. My roses were done about a month ago. I have a buddleja which was a new plant last year needs pruning, but not sure how far to take it back (I know its back to 2 buds) but as its still young should I take it back that far? Sadly my wrens and robins have already started making nests so I cant cut the areas around them until after they have finished rearing their young.

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    I used to be really wimpy about pruning, snipping away tentatively. Then my younger sister gave me a masterclass, and what a difference it makes. I did all my roses round about Xmas, except for the Mme Alfred Carriere on the front of the house- that's always done on New Year's day as I planted it on Jan 1st 2000. I attacked a hugely overgrown vine in January - all the trimmings off that filled a builder's dumpy bag. Hoping to get fewer but better quality bunches of grapes this year.
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190

    It will still benefit from pruning Dave, take it back to about a foot from the ground this year, that is unless its an orange one, you have to prune those after flowering or you wont get flowers this year, but the others flower only on new growth.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks Lyn, 

    I don't know what colour it is as it didnt flower last year, I pulled it out from between the bricks down the side of my house (potted it up), trimmed it back, then planted it a month or so later. I may have planted it in the wrong place though, its in a partial shade area near a large tree. 

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190

    It will be a davidii , I should think, they self seed everywhere. When it does flower, you can cut of the dead ones and it will flower again and seed everwhere! It will probably be ok in the shade, Mine are all over the garden, shade and full sun, they dont seem to mind.

    It really benefits from a hard prune, there is an article in the garden mag this week, he has taken it down to about 8 inches.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • I quite agree with Lyn. It will double up and be a much better shape. Buddleias are so tough that they are very hard to kill and they are regenerated by a hard prune. They like sun but tolerate shade well.

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