Gardening

Pruning of flowering shrubs


GeneralitŠ°


To obtain lush shrubs and abundant blooms every year, it is essential to make sure that our plants are cultivated in the best way, receiving adequate watering and fertilizing. To favor the blooms it is also important to remember to make the most suitable prunings for every single kind of shrub; unfortunately a general pruning, to be done only once a year, and to be practiced on all the plants that populate our garden, will hardly give us satisfactory results. In fact, each shrub has its own specific development period, and the production of flowers takes place over several months; It is therefore essential to proceed with the pruning of the shrubs only in the most suitable period, and only removing the branches that prevent a balanced development.

Prune the branches



The first major distinction to make before preparing for pruning depends on the type of shrub development: some shrubs in fact produce flowers only on new branches, others produce them on old branches, or at least the previous year. It goes without saying that a drastic pruning, on a plant that produces floral buds on old branches, will deprive us of most of the flowers.
The most known plant that produces flowers on new branches is the rose; in fact, if left without pruning, a rose bush, with the passage of time, will always produce fewer flowers, and only in the highest part of the stems; to favor an abundant and well distributed flowering it is therefore necessary to remove all the older branches, and also shorten the vigorous branches: in this way it favors the development of new branches and therefore of many flowers. The same reasoning is done for buddleje, for garden fuchsia shrubs, cariopteris and callistemon; a vigorous autumn pruning or at the end of winter favors the development of new branches full of flowers.
On the contrary many other shrubs bloom only on old wood, or on the branches already lignified, while the new branches, still green, will be without flowers; in this case a winter pruning will remove most of the flowers, while a correct pruning will be done after flowering; in this way we will fully enjoy all the flowers, and we will also favor the development of new branches, which will bring the flowers the following year.
A typical example of this behavior is the cercis, or Judas tree, which often bears flowers even on the main trunk, the oldest and most leathery part of the plant; the same applies to hydrangea, azalea, forsythia.

Types of blooms



Many gardens are pruned only once a year, towards the end of winter. Unfortunately this practice should not be generalized to all plants in the garden; in fact, many plants carry flowers in late spring or even in summer, and therefore have weeks, or even months, to recover from pruning; other plants on the other hand have a very early flowering; therefore, during the late winter period, they already carry the flower buds: in this case an indiscriminate pruning removes most of the flowers, even before they bloom. For this reason it is advisable to prune the plants early flowering after flowering, in order to allow all the buds to bloom in the right period of the year.
The same reasoning can be done for autumn pruning: it is good to avoid pruning berry plants in autumn; drastic pruning in autumn of callicarpa, cotoneaster or other berry plants, deprive us precisely of most of the berries, which in winter are often the only colorful decorations of our garden.

Various prunings


In nature, plants do not need pruning: the wind, diseases, animals, remove part of the weakest or most damaged branches, without the need for external interventions.
As for the shrubs present in our gardens, we are forced to practice more or less consistent pruning, due to the fact that the garden is not a natural environment, and the plants it contains are often the result of hundreds of years of hybridization .
As said before our prunings can be carried out to favor the development of new floral buds, so as to enjoy a greater number of flowers for a prolonged period of time.
However, we can also practice other types of pruning in the garden:
- Pruning of rejuvenation
Often it happens to have to remove the old and weak branches of a shrub, to favor the development of new more vigorous branches; It is an intervention that is carried out for example on roses, which over the years tend to develop excessively weak or disordered stems.
- Pruning of cleaning
This is the type of pruning that we should properly carry out in autumn and at the end of winter: removing the branches ruined by cold or wind, the parts affected by diseases or gnawed by parasites; the ruined foliage. In this way we remove the now dead parts of the plant, scarcely decorative.
- containment pruning
Often in our gardens some shrubs reach excessive dimensions, or they flood on the ground of the neighbor: we therefore intervene to remove part of the foliage to make sure that the shrub remains within dimensions smaller than those reached. This operation is also practiced for those shrubs, such as brooms or buddleje, which over time tend to lengthen and widen a lot, emptying in the lower part: a good containment pruning, which will shorten all the branches, favors the development of branches and buds also in the lower part of the shrub, maintaining a roundish and densely branched crown.
There are many other methods of pruning but basically these three are those that every garden lover finds themselves practicing every year.

Useful tips


Remember that pruning makes us enjoy its benefits, without damaging the plants, it is very important to use the right tools: the pruning shears and pruning shears must be of excellent quality, to make clean and clean cuts, without burrs; in this way the healing of the cut is favored. The cut is made near a bud, or a leaf, avoiding to ruin the underlying gem or leaving unsightly stumps. To prevent diseases or pests from spreading in the garden from plant to plant, after pruning each shrub, carefully clean the blades of the shears, using for example denatured alcohol.
If we practice cuts on very large branches we cover the exposed part with pruning mastic, which will prevent the development of fungal diseases.
In the case of pruning diseased or parasitic branches, remember to remove the result of pruning from the garden, to avoid leaving material suitable for the development of pests and diseases on the ground.

Pruning of flowering shrubs: Flowering bushes


As for i flowering bushes instead the treatment is much simpler and immediate. The material obtained from pruning is usually quite voluminous and therefore we try to be equipped at the time of pruning for disposal.
The bushes are almost always equipped with good regrowth and therefore when they are pruned we will have to try to make an abundant cut that also takes care not to alter too much the shape of the bush or however it tries as much as possible to give an adequate shape to the plant.
Before proceeding with the cut, if we want to obtain flowering bushes, let's make sure we know the characteristics of the plant we are going to prune: it is essential to know if the species blooms on the branches of the year or on the branches of previous years.
The plants that make flowers on the branches of previous years should not be pruned in the spring because otherwise we risk losing the flowering. The plants that bloom on the branches of the year can instead be pruned without problems in late winter without fear of compromising the flowering of the plant.
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