Time to tackle strag­gly plants

Kent Messenger Maidstone - West Kent Property - - BEAUTIFULHOMES -

As soon as the weather warms up a bit, shrubs, hedges and trees seem to take on a mas­sive growth spurt and it’s time to wield the se­ca­teurs.

While first-time gar­den­ers may act with cau­tion, prun­ing isn’t ac­tu­ally that com­pli­cated – the se­cret is to tackle your plants be­fore they be­come strag­gly and out of shape.

Prun­ing prop­erly should give you more flow­ers, fruits and gen­eral vigour, strip­ping away old, dead wood and dis­eased branches, al­low­ing sun­light to the cen­tre of plants to re­ju­ve­nate them for the sea­son ahead.

The gen­eral rule is if it flow­ers be­fore mid-June, prune it im­me­di­ately after flow­er­ing; if it flow­ers later, prune it in late winter or early spring.

Those that flower in spring and early sum­mer, in­clud­ing for­sythia, philadel­phus, ker­ria and weigela should be cut back as soon as they have fin­ished flow­er­ing, to al­low new shoots to form.

Fol­low the stem down un­til you reach a strong bud and cut just above the point where it grows out on the main branch.

Fast-grow­ing suck­ers can be a prob­lem on roses and lilac. They sap the en­ergy of the plant and don’t bear flow­ers. Re­move the basal shoots from the base of the bush or tree, usu­ally be­low ground, trac­ing them to the point of ori­gin, cut­ting them off close to the main stem. The leaves of rose suck­ers usu­ally have seven leaflets in­stead of five.

Shrubs which are not to­tally hardy, such as choisya ter­nata, may have been dam­aged by frost or cold winds dur­ing the winter and you’ll need to cut back the dam­aged leaves at the tips of the shoots to healthy wood, to make the plant look bet­ter and re­duce the risk of dis­ease. Elim­i­nate badly crossing branches which are rub­bing against each other from shrubs and trees to pre­vent con­gested growth and re­duce the risk of dis­ease oc­cur­ring through fric­tion wounds.

If you have var­ie­gated plants such as eu­ony­mus which are re­vert­ing to green, cut out af­fected shoots when you no­tice them, as if they take hold, the whole plant could re­vert.

Pic­ture: PA Photo/think­stock­pho­tos

It’s time to wield the se­ca­teurs

Thyme

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