Time for a little pruning

July is pruning time in the garden and rather than a dreaded chore, with the right tools and correct information, pruning can be easy.

Pruning time is here.

Bring light and the sunshine into the garden to warm the soil and stimulate growth from the roots in the ground up.

Besides the usual suspects like Roses, give the whole garden a nip tuck and shaping to bring on Spring.

Roses, Hydrangeas and deciduous fruit trees all get pruned from July.

Hedges and topiaries should get a good shaping as Spring starts to get them ready for the first flush of growth.

Time to prune

Once the garden is pruned, Spring starts to come into your garden.

July is pruning time in the garden and rather than a dreaded chore, with the right tools and correct information, pruning can be easy.

Think of it as a late winter cut-back that rejuvenates plants and prepares them for a summer of healthy growth, glorious blooms or fabulous fruit.

Pruning brings light and the sunshine into the garden.

Pruning is a bit of a mystery for most gardeners and yet it need not be.

Most plants need some form of pruning at some stage to stimulate new growth, flowers or to limit size.

In nature, this happens with frost, hail, fire or strong winds.

At home, this task is one that lets you put your own stamp on your garden.

Sharp secateurs, long-handled lopper and a pair of strong leather gloves will make pruning easy.

A saw is needed only when really old roses or branches thicker than two centimetres are to be cut down.

Three key garden plants that need pruning are roses, hydrangeas and fruit trees.

Roses

Roses require winter pruning to rejuvenate them for best flowering during the summer.

Cut back stems by about two thirds.

Remove old, dead, diseased and spindly growth.

Seal the cuts with Steriseal to prevent die back and spray the plants with Lime Sulphur diluted 10 to one to clear out fungal spores and scale pests.

Fertilise the plants with BioOcean organic fertiliser to produce strong growth and good colour roses next summer.

Iceberg roses sprout from old wood, so if they have grown too large and untidy cut them right back to short stems, however, if you want them to become large shrubs you can prune them very lightly.

The most important thing to remember is that one cannot prune roses wrongly and that it is actually very easy.

There really is nothing to it.

Healthy Hydrangeas

The flowering of Hydrangeas for Christmas can be controlled by when you prune them.

Cut back now to get the best results.

When you look at your Hydrangea there are young, slender growths of the previous summer reaching up from the base of the plant.

At the end of this stem, there is a large bud.

This bud, in the next growing season, will produce a short shoot and then a flower.

Do not prune this stem.

There are also older shoots, two seasons old with a cluster of large buds a short distance down the stem, usually four to six in number.

These, if left, will each produce a flower the following summer.

All that is needed is to prune the stem back to just above the cluster of buds.

Older, heavier stems of two or more seasons will also be found, carrying several dead flower heads.

These should be pruned back hard to the base of the plant to stimulate new vigorous growth the following season.

Once pruned feed your Hydrangeas with agricultural lime, organic BioGanic fertiliser and mulch with compost for pink flowers.

For blue flowers just feed with Acid Plant Food and mulch with acid compost.

Fruit tree pruning

With the revival of fruit trees in most gardens, there is a whole new generation of gardeners that need a guide on how to prune a deciduous fruit tree.

July is also the month to prune fruit trees to ensure a plentiful supply of fruit during the summer months.

Besides controlling size the most important reason to prune a fruit tree is to promote blossom, thereby increasing fruit quantity and quality.

The method of pruning fruit trees in their first couple of years is basically the same for all deciduous fruit.

When pruning a one-year-old tree, remove all side growth and prune the central stem back to knee height.

This may seem rather drastic, but this early severe pruning is a good foundation for a successful future.

During the next season of growth, many branches will develop.

When pruning a two-year-old tree, identify three or four good stems which will give the tree a cup-shaped structure and prune these stems to a height of 75cm and remove all other growth.

Pruning a more mature tree involves selecting strong shoots growing from each of the main branches and cutting them back to produce a vase shape and removing any spindly growth.

Once pruned feed the trees with Vitaliser 8:1:5 fertiliser around the drip line of the tree and spray with Lime Sulphur diluted 5 to one to prevent disease.

Remember, do not spray trees that have buds or blossoms on, they are the early peaches and spraying blossoms will reduce your crop.

Information provided by Eckards Garden Pavilion.

Water wise daisies for a happy garden

  AUTHOR
Charmaine Slater
Senior journalist (Edenvale)

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