WINTER PRUNING IN SOUTH AFRICA – 5 WAYS TO ACHIEVE THE BEST RESULTS
Pruning is a vital part of your annual garden maintenance calendar – it promotes healthy and prolific flowering and fruits, enables you to maintain the natural shape of the plants, and allows your garden to flourish back to life beautifully in the Spring.
Here are our 5 ways to achieve the best results:
1. KNOW WHEN TO PRUNE
The general rule is that winter is the best time for pruning as your garden’s growth slows down due to the colder weather, with many becoming dormant. It also becomes easier to prune in winter, as the plants have many dead bits and pieces which are easy to remove. In summer rainfall areas, July is the best month and in winter rainfall areas, August is the best month to prune.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING
If you’re not a regular gardener you may find the task very intimidating, but with careful planning and research you could really grow to enjoy this life-giving task.
There are a few basics to get right before you start: ensure that your cutting tools of choice are sharp and clean. Cutting tools should be cleaned regularly with vinegar or bleach to ensure that plants don’t transmit diseases to each other. Clean plant cuts also help them heal faster.
3. KNOW WHAT TO PRUNE
Plants that needs pruning are generally long-stemmed plants and shrubs that tend to bush wildly when left to their own devices, like hedges, deciduous fruit and nut tree, citrus trees, hydrangeas, herbs, climbers and roses. Corrective tree pruning should also form part of your pruning list . If you are unsure, there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet – be sure to do more research.
4. KNOW HOW TO PRUNE
Start with removing the dead – anything that is damaged, has straggly bits and pieces or possibly has disease needs to go. If you are unsure as to whether the plant is dead, cut into the bark to look for green signs of life.
You then need to open the center of the plant to the light by thinning out the plant. Look for branches that are tangled up with others or obstructing each other and remove them neatly at the stem to avoid unsightly twig sprouts.
It’s important when you are pruning to also shape the plant symmetrically and evenly. Start with the idea of “less cutting is more”. As landscapers often artfully note, it’s like giving a plant a haircut – you can always cut more later, but you can’t go back and undo what you’ve done.
After pruning, apply a plant sealer to the bigger like tree branch cuts to promote faster healing and prevent disease. End your pruning session with composting the ground around the plant to ensure it receives the vital nutrients to thrive.
5. WHAT TO DO WITH THE PRUNED BITS
Pruning by its very nature provides a great deal of healthy organic matter, the leftovers, for use as beneficial ground coverage for your garden. These leftovers can be passed through a chipper machine to form a mulch , then incorporated into the soil by earthworms and other organisms. This creates a stable soil structure and thereby making water run-off less likely, thus preventing soil erosion. Mulching your freshly pruned garden will help nurture it into a healthy spring.
If you still find this necessary task intimidating, why not give us a call for a garden visit!