Pruning in May
May is the perfect time to prune any early-flowering shrubs that have now finished flowering, for example any Skimmia. Pruning annually is a great way to extend the lifetime of these shrubs and promote healthy flowering next year. By pruning shrubs as soon after they have flowered as possible, you allow the plant to direct its energy into developing next year’s shoots and flowers now, over the summer period.
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Pruning made easy:
- The time to start is once the plant has completely finished flowering (you should not be able to see any new flower buds).
- Looking at the dead flowers, follow the stem under the flower back to the first leaf you come to and snip here unless you are going for a harder prune to get the shrub back in shape. If this is the case keep going down the stem until you get to the desired point and then snip just above a leaf/branch shoot.
- It is a good idea to take out any weak shoots so that the plant can refocus its energy away from these.
- If there appears to be overcrowding you may also choose to remove a few stems right from the ground in order to prevent any congestion.
Tools for the job:
For best results make sure that your secateurs are nice and sharp. To prolong the life of tools we also recommend a good wipe down when you finish using them. This stops sap from building up and clogging the mechanism.
You may also want to invest in a good pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands. There are lots of different types available, you simply want to chose a pair that allow your hand flexibility to be able to hold and cut with the secateurs. You may also want to look for longer gauntlet type gloves that will also give protection to the lower arm.
Both of our Exeter garden centres stock a selection of gardening gloves and garden hand tools and our plant team will be pleased to advise on pruning.