Pruning shrubs is simply cutting small plants with woody stems/branches. Pruning has many benefits - it makes plants healthier and helps in protecting against fungal infections/diseases. It also encourages the growth of fruits and flowers. The key is when and how you prune a shrub – so we’ve written this handy guide to keep you in the know!

What do I do before pruning?

It is important to prepare before pruning especially if it’s your first time! You will need good quality secateurs, which are easy to get a hold of, and if you want, there are loppers and pruning saws for cutting bigger material. It is important to clean and scrub your equipment in warm water and products like Lysol, rubbing alcohol or Listerine because the goal of pruning is to prevent plant diseases.

Clean tools help in ensuring a plant remains healthy but beware of products that are corrosive to the metal. It is also a good idea to wear some gardening gloves to protect your hands, some shrub branches can be spiky! After this you are ready for some pruning.

How and what should I prune?

There are two basic ways to prune; heading cuts and thinning cuts. A good rule of thumb is to not remove any more than a third of the shrubs leaf mass within one growing season.

The first way is cutting the branch to change the direction of the growth. The direction is determined by the way the remaining top bud is pointing after cutting the branch at an angle. This benefits the shrubs as it reduces the shrub height and keeps it tidy. The second way of cutting is thinning, and it means to cut the branches at their origin. This prevents regrowth and keeps the shrub small.

You should aim to prune the dead, diseased and broken branches as soon as possible. The shrub should be a good size after you are done to allow air to circulate. Get rid of the dead and diseased branches. 

When do I prune?

Different shrubs bloom at different times. The best time to prune in the majority of cases is just after the shrub has flowered. 

Following this advice, you'll soon begin to beautiful looking shrubs. But, for more information and advice from our expert team - our free course - Seeds For Success - provides you with the tips and tricks over 6 weeks - Register your interest below.

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