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It’s time to prune!

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Saturday, 24th February 2018, 09:00

Cactus Cactus

It is my hope that by the time you’re reading this, spring will have sprung and we may have slightly better weather than the first two months of the year – finger’s crossed!

March is the time to prune your bush-roses (hybrid teas and floribundas) if you haven’t done so already. Cut off all the spindly twigs and anything dead, damaged or diseased. Cut to an outward facing bud, leaving about 2.5cm of last year’s growth on weaker stems and a bit more on stronger stems.

Encourage new shoots to emerge
Shrub roses don’t need such drastic pruning, and with these if they are looking a bit congested, cut out about one third of the thickest, oldest branches at the base with a pruning saw, thus encouraging new shoots to emerge. Take about 10cm off the top of the remaining stems to finish, and feed with a handful of rose fertiliser.

Winter flowering heathers look better for an annual pruning to keep the plants compact and bushy. The books recommend using secateurs but if there is a large area of heathers it is easier to use shears. Don’t cut into the old wood but just prune off nearly all of the previous season’s growth.

Now is a good time to trim ornamental grasses. Evergreen grasses like Festuca glauca or Pampas Grass are pruned annually in early spring. The small ones like the Festuca just need their tips trimmed to remove dead bits, whilst the large Pampas can be cut hard back to the base, and dead material raked out to let light and air into the plant centre. You will need strong gloves for this as the leaves are razor sharp!

Deciduous grasses like Miscanthus and Stipa can be cut down to about 10cm now to get rid of the old brown stems and allow the new green growth to take over. Trim winter-flowering heathers with shears as they stop flowering to keep them compact.

Cacti are popular and demand little attention
Cacti as houseplants are becoming very popular as they suit a contemporary home and demand little attention, but can need a bit of TLC by the end of the winter. Don’t just leave them to get dusty and forgotten on a windowsill, but put them in some fresh soil (you can get cactus compost from the garden centre) and put in a slightly larger pot. Watch your hands on the spines – you can use some card to make a handle to wrap around the plant. Finally, water very sparingly just around the edge, making sure not to wet the plant.

Other Images

Pruning plants

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