Pruning your autumn garden
Pruning: to do or not?
Pruning is on of those gardening tasks that seems to get people in a tizz! Many people think they need to ‘put their garden to bed’ for the winter, and whilst I don’t entirely agree with this, it’s true that November is a really good time to tackle your hedges, trees and bushes/shrubs. This will enable you to get some necessary pruning and shaping done so that your garden is at its best come next spring and summer.
Because deciduous plants (those that drop their leaves in winter) will be pretty bare looking now, you can get a much better idea of their shape. This helps you decide what needs to be done to achieve the shape you want. And because they’re in their dormant phase, you can do little damage. Exceptions to this rule include ornamental cherries, plums, and almonds – you should leave these until spring (along with all the evergreens, which definitely shouldn’t be done in autumn).
Shrubs to prune now include late-flowering ceanothus and hypericum, maple and beech and of course bush roses, which need just a light trim so they’re not top-heavy during the wintry months (they’re shallow-rooted so can be uprooted by high winds). Climbing roses should have been done by now!
I always find pruning a very satisfying task, and sometimes have to hold myself back, otherwise, my precious shrubs would be no more than football sized mounds! I look out for a good, dry day, get my gloves on, get myself a huge cup of steaming hot tea and a pocket-full of cheeky biscuits and get stuck in! Remember to compost the cuttings (you might want to shred them first), they provide good structure for your compost. And the bigger twigs can be piled up to make a wildlife sanctuary in your garden!
So, get the (sharp!) pruning shears or secateurs out and enjoy the last of the autumn sunshine in your garden.