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  • Callum Ward

When should you Prune?


Pruning is a critical gardening practice that involves removing specific parts of a tree or plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. The primary goals of pruning are to remove dead or diseased material, shape the plant for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, and improve its health and productivity. However, knowing when to prune is essential for achieving these objectives without harming your plants.

Deciduous Trees

For many deciduous trees, the ideal time to prune is during their dormant season, typically in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning during dormancy minimises sap loss and stress to the tree, making it easier for the tree to recover. It also allows for better visibility of the tree's structure, enabling more precise cuts. However, there are exceptions; trees that bloom in early spring, such as magnolias and some species of cherry, should be pruned immediately after their flowers fade to avoid cutting off the next year's buds.

Evergreen Trees

Evergreen trees can be pruned almost any time of year, but the best time is often in the late winter or early spring. Pruning before the onset of the growing season allows the tree to heal quickly and direct its energy towards new growth. Avoid heavy pruning in late summer or early fall, as new growth might not have enough time to harden off before the cold weather.

Fruit Trees

The pruning schedule for fruit trees can vary depending on the type of fruit and the desired outcome. Generally, late winter or early spring pruning is recommended for most fruit trees to stimulate flower production and, subsequently, fruit yield. Summer pruning can be used to control the size of the tree and improve air circulation among the branches, which helps reduce the risk of disease.


Deciduous shrubs benefit from being pruned in late winter or early spring for similar reasons to deciduous trees. For flowering shrubs, the timing of pruning should be based on when they bloom. Shrubs that flower in the spring should be pruned immediately after their flowers fade, while those that bloom in summer or fall should be pruned during the dormant season to preserve the forthcoming blooms.


Roses typically require annual pruning to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering. The best time to prune most roses is in late winter or early spring, just as the buds begin to swell. This timing helps encourage vigorous growth and flowering in the coming season.


Many herbaceous perennials benefit from being cut back in late autumn or early spring. Pruning in autumn can help prevent disease by removing potentially infected material, while spring pruning can invigorate many perennials, leading to more robust growth and flowering.

Pruning is a vital part of plant care that, when done correctly and at the right time, can significantly enhance the health, vitality, and productivity of your trees and plants. While the general rule of thumb is to prune during the dormant season, specific timing can vary based on the type of plant and its flowering habits. Contact us if you think your trees and plants might be in need for some pruning, we can help ensure your plants remain healthy and beautiful this spring and summer.

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