Gardening help – Tips on what to prune during the winter

The winter can often be a quiet time of year for gardeners as there’s much less
activity going on than in other seasons. But one important job that needs to be
carried out through the winter is pruning, so we take a look at what pruning jobs
need to be done this time of year.

Fruit Tree Pruning
Preparing fruit trees for the spring and summer involves pruning back the branches
to maximise the tree’s exposure to light. Unless you have a trained tree, the best
shape to try and achieve is the A-shape; wide at the bottom and thinner at the top.
The most important parts of this pyramid shape are the stem and main branches
which are where the best of fruit will grow. By ensuring maximum light exposure to
these parts you can give the fruit tree its best chance of producing delicious fruits.

Bush and Tree Pruning
Bushes and trees are full of leaves throughout spring, summer and much of autumn
making it practically impossible to prune, which is why it’s imperative to do the
majority of the pruning in the winter. Pay special attention to overgrown bushes and
trees by removing any diseased or dead branches and any which cross-over each
other or that are growing inwards. This will not only improve their health, but again
will also maximise light penetration. Bushes of the desired height can just have their
leaders cut back by about 2/3s.

Flowering Shrub Pruning
Whilst climbing and rambling roses are best pruned in the autumn, bush roses are
best pruned in the late winter. Prune these lightly by just removing dead wood and
trimming back branches by about a third. Flowering shrubs that bloom in the summer
should be pruned during the winter too, as should climbers that flower best following
new growth (e.g. Buddleia).

Always carrying out pruning with a sharp pair of secatuers, bearing in mind that
pruning is for the health of the plant and not just the aesthetics of the garden.

More gardening tips coming soon!