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Maintenance Pruning

On ornamental plants (not fruit) there are a few basic reasons why you should prune, best remembered as the 4 Ds: Dead, Dying, Damaged and Diseased. Next, remove crossing or rubbing branches, any that have reverted to green and for shape.

You will need:

Secateurs, pruning saw

Best time to do it:

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Difficulty: 2 / 5

Dead wood is easiest to see and remove in summer. Cut back to healthy, pale-coloured wood.

Die-back is common after early pruning where a rogue frost can catch you out. Cut back to just above a healthy bud.

Larger dead stems should be removed with a pruning saw, working very carefully so you do not damage nearby shoots.

Green shoots on a variegated plant should be removed, as they contain more chlorophyll and are stronger. If left, they will take over and you will lose the variegation.


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