How Often Should I Prune My Trees, Plants, and Hedges?

If you’re a gardener in Sydney, Australia you probably have a vast array of trees, plants, and hedges in your garden. They can add a great burst of colour to your land but growing them can be a little tricky, especially when it comes to pruning. While pruning might seem a little daunting to attempt, it’s a vital part of gardening to help ensure your plants stay healthy.

What is Pruning?

Pruning is when you trim off dead, tall, or lose branches from a plant to prevent overgrowth and damages. You usually need to use special gardening shears to cut off the branches and stems at certain knobs on them to prevent damages occurring to the plant. Pruning is typically done during the dormant season.   Garden water feature

The Importance of Pruning

Leaving your plants alone and letting nature have its way with them can seem like an easy thing to do, but pruning and garden maintenance is vital if you want to have a flourishing and safe garden. Removing loose or diseased branches can help prevent injuries occurring to people if the branches happen to fall and any disease from spreading to other parts of the plant. Pruning also lets you be in control of how tall a certain shrub or tree grows or even its shape. You can design them to match your preferences and can prune them to be in a circular or square shape or really anything your imagination desires. Believe it or not, plants actually enjoy being pruned because it helps to keep them strong. This haircut allows old and damaged parts of them to be removed so they can grow to be healthy.  

How Often to Prune Trees, Plants, and Hedges

While pruning techniques for all of these are somewhat similar, they do have some differences. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you prune them correctly to prevent damages.

Trees

Trees come in all shapes and sizes which can make pruning them a little difficult. You want to prune your trees during the winter when they are in their dormant season and not trying to grow leaves or flowers. However, if you have a fruit or flowering tree you’ll have to spend a little more time pruning it. Once the fruit or flowers appear and eventually wither away, you’ll want to carefully prune each of them off. This means that fruit and flowering trees should be pruned at least 2 times per year, sometimes even more. Also, if you buy and plant a young tree and want to keep it short, you’ll have to prune it about once a year so it stays low. Other tree types should ideally be pruned about every 2 years. They should be trimmed at special knobs located on the branches which is a technique known as Crown Lifting/Thinning. You’ll need to remove the lower branches of the tree (including any that are broken and hanging off) so light can reach the roots to encourage the tree to grow.  

Plants

Knowing how often to prune plants can be a little tricky because there are so many types. If you have fruiting plants, you’ll want to prune them once a year around the late summer and early fall. This is due to the plants starting to go into their dormant stage and can prevent common bugs and diseases that thrive during the spring and early summer from somehow affecting the plants. If you have plants like roses, you’ll need to prune them a little more often, about 2-3 times per year. Once they flower you’ll want to cut the heads off and any crooked and old stems to encourage growth on them. One plant that many people have trouble with is the hibiscus. It produces many colourful flowers but does so very quickly. It can be confusing whether or not you need to trim off these flowers immediately or just let them fall off by themselves. Unlike other flowering plants, you can just let the hibiscus flowers grow and fall off during their growing season and wait until the winter to prune any damaged or old stems.   Another native Australian plant that tends to be confusing when it comes to pruning is the Grevillea. Unlike hibiscus plants, you’ll want to keep pruning any dead Grevillea blooms so the plant can use all of its energy to grow new flowers.

Hedges

Hedges are a little easier when it comes to pruning. You can just trim off any growth during every season which makes this quite simple. This will help to keep them in a nice shape and prevent them from having excessive growth which could impact other plants around them. Keep in mind that the more often you prune it the thicker the hedge will be. If you want to have it look a little more open, then lay back a little on pruning the hedge, but do occasional trimming of tall shoots.   colourful shrubs

Pruning Tips

When you go to prune your plants it’s not just as easy as taking some shears and chopping stems off. You need to make sure that the shears are sharp and sanitized to help you make clean cuts when you prune. Otherwise, bacteria and pests can end up getting into the plant’s system and destroying it. You also always want to make sure to cut at certain knobs on trees to prevent accidentally killing them or stunting their growth. Ideally, you should take the shears and cut the branches or stems off at an angle and only take about 1-3 inches off of them. If you want to prune flowers, be sure that you don’t do so if the plant is starting to form buds. This can stress the plant and end up causing these new buds to fall off. It’s best to wait until the plant goes into its dormant season to do so.   Maintain Me hedge trimming Pruning requires a bit of work, but it’s something your trees, plants, and hedges will thank you for as well as improving creating a beautiful landscaping design. Always keep in mind the correct amount and time to prune your plants so they stay strong and healthy. By pruning correctly, you’ll soon start to see your garden flourishing like never before. If you are wanting to perfect your pruning skills here are some important tips: How to perfect your pruning skills

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