Pruning – Flower Garden Care
Pruning – Flower Garden Care
Those new toare sometimes convinced that regular pruning is as essential to the health of a shrub as are food and water. However, most shrubs will grow, flower and fruit, with never a cut in sight. The primary reason for pruning is to keep a plant vigorous, healthy, well-balanced and in scale with , as well as to encourage it to flower or fruit well. Therefore, a sound general rule is to take out any dead, damaged or diseased, and weak wood, which will only use up the plant’s energy to no purpose.
Shrubs that flower on the previous season’s wood, such as Deutzia, Philadelphus, Weigela and Buddleia alternifolia, should have some of the weaker shoots, that have just flowered, taken out immediately blooming is finished. This gives the new shoots room to grow, and the longest time to develop and ripen for the next year’s display. Early-flowering shrubs in this group, such asand Forsythia, should also have their flowering shoots pruned as soon as the blossom fades.
Shrubs that flower on the current season’s wood, blooming from mid-summer onwards, such as Buddleia davidii cultivars, Ceanothus X delileanus ‘Gloire de Versailles’, Caryopteris X clandonensis and Hydrangea paniculata cultivars, must be pruned hard in early spring to allow flowering shoots to grow.
All roses, without exception, should be pruned hard, without fail, immediately after planting, to encourage strong young shoots from the base. Annual pruning is done in mid-spring, at a time when winter is well over, before the roses waste their effort in a burst of spring growth. The aim is to keep the centre of the bush open to light and air; take out all dead and weak wood and remove any crossing branches as they may cause damage by chafing.
By making the pruning cut just above an outward-pointing bud, you are encouraging the plant to send out a new shoot which will grow away from the centre of the plant, thus avoiding a congested tangle of branches in the middle. Make the cut about 6mm (1/4in) above the bud; it should slope downward away from the bud, at 45 degrees, so that rain runs off easily and rot does not set in.
Large and cluster-flowered roses
Also known as hybrid teas and floribundas respectively, these should be clipped over in late autumn, to prevent them rocking in the wind. In spring, large-flowered roses should have each shoot pruned again by about half, and cluster-flowered by about a third.
By taking out some of the very old wood to the base, you encourage further production of strong shoots. Any suckers sprouting from the rootstock on to which the rose has been grafted (most easily recognized by their different, pale green and suspiciously healthy leaves) should be pulled off very carefully from where they arise below ground.
Climbers and ramblers
These roses will give a good account of themselves with little pruning but will perform even better if treated as follows. For climbers, reduce the side-shoots by about two-thirds in spring but leave the main framework of the plant alone. Also, whenafter flowering, the flowering shoots can be reduced by about half. For ramblers, remove the flowered shoots to the base of the plant and train the young shoots in — if there are not enough of these, leave on a few of the old ones.
You sometimes see climbing roses trained on walls, flowering only at the top, the lower stems almost bare of leaves and flowers, for the instinct of the plant is to grow straight up in the air towards the light. If you curb its intentions by training the shoots horizontally, it will be induced to form lots of new flowering shoots along the length of the stem.
The large-flowered Clematis cultivars fall into two distinct groups. The first comprises those that flower before mid-summer on the wood formed the previous year, such as ‘NeIly Moser’ and ‘Lasurstern’. This group should have only dead or weak wood carefully trimmed away in late winter down to a healthy pair of buds; they start into growth very early so if you leave this too long it is a most confusing occupation trying to decide where a stem begins and ends. Double-flowered cultivars such as ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ and ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ belong to this group and will only produce their double flowers on the previous season’s wood, as well as some single flowers on wood of the current year in late summer.
The second group, blooming in later summer, such as Clematis x jackmanii, ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ and ‘Perle d’Azur’, should be pruned to 90cm (3ft) in late winter or early spring. (In mild climates you can do this in late autumn.) The same pruning applies to late-summer flowering Clematis viticella and Clematis texensis cultivars and Clematis x durandii.
Spring-flowering species, such as Clematis alpina, Clematis macropetala, Clematis montana and Clematis armandii should not be pruned, except for removing dead or weak wood.