Pruning Shrubs and Trees in Late Winter
If tree fruit pruning is not finished in late winter, it will be too late to do it afterwards without damaging the trees and upsetting their management. Wisteria should be pruned, if not yet done, together with other climbing ornamentals mentioned in Early Winter. Other shrubs to prune now include the following:
Abelia x grandiflora
At the end of late winter, these can be tidied up by cutting off weak new shoots completely, cutting back long shoots and removing one or two of the oldest stems to ground level in some years. In coldand districts, wait until late in early spring before doing this.
The large-flowered kinds which flower from late in early summer right through almost until autumn will probably start to sprout this season, if they have not already done so; some shoots, in early seasons, can be 30cm (12in) long by now. Even if they are, the main stems should still be cut hard back to within 90cm (36in) of the ground, to just above a pair of buds. As they are very low down on the stems, this pair of buds will probably be still dormant, but cutting will encourage sprouting.
The large-flowered clematis that flower in late spring and early summer do better with much less ruthless treatment. Since it will now be possible to see where the dead growth is, this can be cut off; the live new shoots are then cut back to remove not much more than the tips, to just above the first pair of dormant buds. To make the most of their flowering display, these shoots should then be spread out evenly and separately and tied in position.
Clematis planted in autumn and earlier in the winter should now be cut back hard to just above a pair of still dormant buds, about 15-30cm (6-12in) above ground.
Pruning of this is mainly to prevent the bush becoming too crowded, as it is enthusiastic about growing, so some catkin-bearing growth should be removed as soon as the catkins have finished, to let in light and air, and some of the oldest shoots can be completely removed. Pruning I should always be done before new growth begins.
The tendency of this shrub to produce thin, straggly shoots without flowers needs checking, so such growth can be cut back now before flowering, to leave a stub with one or two buds on it. Watch for the flower buds, which will be round and fat.
As soon as this has finished flowering, which may not be until early spring, cut the strong flowered shoots back by about three-quarters of their length and the remainder to leave stubs with one or two pairs of buds on them. Alternatively, this rather hard pruning can be replaced by simply thinning some of the flowered shoots, to give the remainder room to breathe. In this case when pruning, remove about half the length of flowered shoot. Roses In some seasons and some districts, pruning of large-flowered and cluster-flowered kinds can start during late winter. Climbers can have what little pruning they need done at the same time; dead growth is cut off, flowering growth which has become too old to flower well should be cut back to a strong new shoot, and small side-shoots can be cut to about 7.5cm (3in) or one bud.