The Importance of Autumn Pruning

Pruning involves the selective removal of a branches from a tree or plant to improve its health and shape, encouraging it to grow, flower and fruit. Many gardeners find pruning baffling, so here's an overview by David Hall of a subject that can get over complicated.

Created by David Hall on Tuesday, 8th of October, 2013.
Updated on Thursday, 8th of December, 2016.


Pruning includes jobs as large as cutting off tree limbs to deadheading flowers, some plants will thrive with only limited pruning while others need hard pruning. All we are doing is accelerating a natural process.

When pruning we also have to bear in mind that the result needs to be attractive, i.e. the gardener needs to balance appearance with keeping the plant vigorous.

Shrubs need to be a well balanced and shaped, with sturdy new shoots replacing old ones.

Understanding flowering and growth

Although initial pruning may be little more than cosmetic, eliminating crossing or weak shoots, before starting serious pruning you need to understand the plant's flowering habit and growth pattern.

Naturally you are reluctant to remove healthy growth, however in the long term most trees will benefit from early training and pruning to create a strong framework of branches, especially if they are grown formally.

Disease and pests usually see their chance to strike when a plant is in poor condition, so it's important to prune out all damaged, dead and diseased wood, the '3 D's' as the RHS book calls them. 

Cut back to healthy wood, preferably a growth bud, from where replacement shoots can grow.

Weak growth, hard prune, strong growth, light prune

Clearing out the centre of a tree to rid it of weak shoots is important to increase air circulation and allow healthy ones to develop unhindered.

Awkwardly placed shoots may upset the symmetry of many shrubs and trees, these should be cut out. Sometimes plants become unbalanced due to one portion growing faster than the remainder, in this case lightly prune strong shoots but cut weak shoots back hard.

Always remember the mantra 'weak growth, hard prune, strong growth, light prune.'

As I've already mentioned, knowing fruiting and flowering characteristics is vitally important, whether it takes place on the current year's shoots or on ones that are more than a year old. This clearly governs if and how often you prune.

Knowledge of the plant's life cycle will also determine when to prune, generally pruning should allow the maximum growing period to produce flowering shoots or growth that will flower during the following season.

Once you understand the importance of pruning and why it is vital for healthy growth, you can go on to discover its intricacies, and that might take a lifetime!

If you're interested in carrying out your own Autumn pruning then you can visit our plant care products page.

Related Articles

What To Do In The Garden in June

What To Do In The Garden in June

At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our Garden Centre in Birmingham. David Coton will be planting the bedding in containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 17th of May, 2017.

Keeping Hedges In Shape

Keeping Hedges In Shape

Whether you just have a hedge on one side of your garden or, like David Hall, a garden with laurel hedges on all sides, they will need to be pruned to retain their shape and density.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Wednesday, 26th of August, 2015.

The Most Beautiful Clemetis

The Most Beautiful Clemetis

The beauty of one particular Clematis has enchanted David Hall for many years, Clematis sieboldii or “Florida Bi-Colour” is his queen of the climbers and here he explains why it captivated him.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 28th of May, 2015.

Roses - Britain's Favourite Plant

Roses - Britain's Favourite Plant

Roses are regularly voted the nation's favourite plant. With such a fantastic variety of colour, scent, size and habit, it's no wonder that there's a rose to suit every garden. Nathan James Dodd explains their enduring appeal and how to ensure a summer long display.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Tuesday, 26th of May, 2015.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

David Hall David Hall

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

Forest Launches New Storage Range

Forest Launches New Storage Range

Forest have been making high quality timber garden products for over half a century and at GLEE David Coton had the chance to see their brand new storage range that has recently been launched.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

Innovative Products From Wildlife World

Innovative Products From Wildlife World

Everyone should be serious about encouraging wildlife, and whether you focus on pollinating bees, pest devouring birds or slug eating hedgehogs, David Hall has been looking at the products that Wildlife World design and manufacture to aid their conservation.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

Overview of New Lotus Wheelie Bin Stores, Garages, Sheds and More.

Overview of New Lotus Wheelie Bin Stores, Garages, Sheds and More.

This week Robert Hall has been to the Glee Garden Trade show at the NEC in Birmingham and has reviewed the new Lotus Wheelie Bin Store; Metal Garages, Bicycle Store; Sheds and Workshops and more...

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.