A Complete Guide to Pruning: Why, When, and How to Trim


A Complete Guide to Pruning: Why, When, and How to Trim

With sunshine-filled days just around the corner, you’re probably already starting to think about preparing your garden for spring/summer – and that means pruning.

Pruning will not only allow you to keep your garden looking its very best throughout the year, but it will also enable your plants to thrive in their natural environment.

Pruning the branches for better crops.

From your shrubs and hedges through to flowers and vines, applying the correct pruning techniques, at the right time of year, is extremely important.

We’ve created a helpful guide outlining the importance of pruning, when you should dig out your pruning tools, and the pruning techniques you should employ to get the job done.

Why is it important to prune your plants?

Although braving the cold and keeping on top of your garden maintenance is hardly appealing during the bleak winter months, taking the time to prune your plants will enhance the health, appearance, size, and shape of your garden.

Focusing on trimming and removing dead matter, pest-infested branches, and broken branches from your plants; pruning also helps improve plant quality, allowing you to enjoy a wonderful garden space that is healthy, inviting, and well maintained.

When should you prune?

This depends on the season and the plant type, but it’s important you understand what to prune and when. So, make sure you pop these in your gardening calendar!

Early Spring

Woman wearing wellies, hat and gloves with pruning shears cutting evergreen bittersweet shrub plant. Maintenance gardening concept.

The arrival of warmer, brighter, and lighter days should instantly entice you back into your garden, and early spring is the perfect time to get your green fingers back into the swing of things.

From the back end of March, you should concentrate on pruning ornamental grasses, cutting them as close to the ground as possible, whilst cutting back your perennials to about four inches tall to encourage stronger stems and beautiful floral displays. Of course, if you’re concerned about the condition of your perennials, you can cut them back during the winter months too.

Spring is also a great time to tackle your evergreens, as well as summer flowering vines, roses, shrubs, trees and hydrangea. This will help you maximise the number and size of your flowers.

Early Summer

pruning shrubs in summer

With many of us spending the majority of our time outdoors during the summer months, it’s important that your garden is in good shape!

This means keeping on top of summertime pruning. During summer, you should be pruning your evergreen shrubs, focusing on their shape and size. By now, your flowering shrubs will also be in full bloom, so it’s essential that you prune for size control, as well as shaping. You should also remove any fading flowers during this period too.


Woman cut a bouquet of flowers hydrangeas with pruning scissors

As you wave goodbye to warm, summer days, you should now be thinking about pruning your flowers and perennials.

The autumn is time to remove any dry, dead, or faded flowers, to encourage a second flush of flowers and prepare your plants for next year’s growth spurt.


pruning in winter

During the winter months, it’s important you tackle your evergreen trees and any pest-prone plants.

You should concentrate on removing any damaged, dead or broken branches, as well as any crossed rubbing limbs. Ensuring that you prune during winter will also help you prevent the spread of disease and insect infestations.

How to prune

With pruning techniques varying from plant to plant, it’s important you familiarise yourself with the most appropriate technique before you get to work.

For everything you need to prune your garden to perfection this year, why not pop down to one of Capital Gardens’ three store locations – and chat to one of our helpful Plant People who can assist with your pruning queries.


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