A quick guide

Pruning is a year-round job so it pays to do it well.

Begin by checking your tools are clean and sharp. Next, remove any dead, diseased, damaged, weak or badly placed material, cutting back into clean, healthy wood.

As with humans, open wounds are entry points for infection. The hormones actively involved in damage repair are concentrated around the various joints, or nodes, in the plant, so make the pruning cuts just above one of these joints to promote rapid healing. Cutting in between nodes will result in the stem or branch dying back to the next joint. In worst cases the stem, or even the whole plant, may be lost through disease entry via the pruning wound.

Remember winter pruning tends to stimulate growth whereas summer pruning tends to inhibit excessive growth. Suiting the timing to the vigour of the plant is an important pruning tool.

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