Garden expert says what plants need to be pruned during the winter to get a “bonus” in the spring
With this in mind, Josh Nouvel, garden expert and director of Polhill, has identified which plants need pruning during the colder months and detailed the most suitable technique for each plant.
In Britain, winter is the best season to prune roses. To increase air circulation, start by removing any dead or diseased wood and trimming any overlapping branches. Shrub roses benefit from an organic, curved shape, while hybrid tea roses should be pruned into an open vase shape. Make an effort to create a framework that promotes growth in the spring.
- Use sharp, clean pruning shears.
- Cut at a 45-degree angle just above the outward-facing bud.
- Remove any thin, weak or crossing branches.
To promote healthy development and improve fruit production, winter pruning can be performed on apple trees, pears and other fruit trees. Pay special attention to trimming any branches that are growing vertically, dead or crowded. This promotes an open canopy, which allows light to enter the tree from all angles.
- Remove any branches that cross or rub against each other.
- Cut just above the bud, leaving a slight angle to promote healing.
- Remove any water sprouts (strong, straight shoots) emerging from the main branches.
Modest winter pruning helps many evergreen shrubs maintain their shape and promote new growth. Holly, yew and boxwood are a few examples. Stay away from severe pruning in winter as it may harm the plant.
- Trim long, unruly branches to maintain a compact shape.
- Remove any dead or yellow foliage.
- Shape the plant gradually, avoiding radical cuts.
To prepare for spring growth, some perennials benefit from winter pruning to refresh their appearance. Examples include late-blooming perennials such as sedum and ornamental grasses.
- Cut the stems to ground level for herbs.
- Trim perennial stems to about 2-3 inches above the soil.
- Remove any dead or diseased material.
Winter pruning is a great opportunity to give climbing plants, like clematis, some TLC. Pruning helps maintain their shape, regulates their size and promotes dense flowering in the coming seasons.
- Determine the type of jasmine plant (early blooming or late blooming) to determine the appropriate pruning method.
- Remove dead or weak growth.
- Cut the stems back to a pair of healthy buds.
General tips for winter pruning
Use of sharp tools: Sharp, clean pruning shears make cleaner cuts, promoting faster healing.
Pruning on dry days: Wet conditions can spread diseases, so choose dry days to prune.
Get to know your plants: Different plants require different pruning techniques, so learn about the specific needs of each type.
Debris disposal: Remove cut material from the garden to prevent the spread of diseases.
Josh said: “In Britain, winter pruning is a useful technique for preparing a garden for liveliness and activity in spring. Gardeners can ensure that their landscape remains strong and robust as well as aesthetically pleasing by pruning plants such as climbers, evergreen shrubs, fruit trees, roses and perennials. When you use winter as an opportunity to care for your plants, you’ll be rewarded with a thriving garden in the spring.