Maintenance pruning in summer

There are four general rules for maintenance pruning. The following branches should be removed:

  • Suckers and reverted branches
    Plants that have been grafted may form new shoots from the original rootstock (suckers). Depending on the position of the graft union, these suckers may emerge from the ground or from the stem. They should be removed immediately, cutting them back as far as possible so that there are no remaining buds that may develop.
    Reversion occurs in variegated plants with the development of one or more shoots with green leaves. These shoots are more prolific than the shoots with variegated leaves and should be removed as soon as possible, otherwise the entire plant will turn green in no time.
  • Dead and diseased branches
    Diseased branches must be removed thoroughly in order to protect the health of the plant. Cut back hard, well into the healthy part of the plant. This prevents the further spread of the disease and also reduces the risk of contagion via the pruning tool.
  • Broken branches
    If a branch breaks, new shoots often form close to the fracture. This is not always a suitable place for new shoots, as it is often too far up the plant, and this may spoil the natural shape. It is therefore a good idea to remove these shoots.
  • Branches that touch or cross
    Branches do not always grow in a streamlined manner. If two branches touch they may become grazed, causing weak spots that are vulnerable to infection. The branches that deviate from the natural shape are the culprits and should be removed completely.

Shrub roses
Deadheading roses stimulates growth and flowering. Gardeners tend to only cut off the old flowers. However, if you want your rose to continue flowering into autumn, it should be cut down to a lower bud growing from a leaf axil.
Tip: Choose an outward facing leaf with five leaflets. The new shoot will then grow outwards too, leaving the heart of the bush open.

Conifer hedge
Many conifers grow very vigorously. If you do not want them to dominate the garden, you will have to prune them regularly – at least twice a year, depending on the rate of growth. Take a critical look at your hedge this month and decide whether it needs tackling.

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