Pruning and Moon Gardening
Click in the link below to hear Erikas’ podcast on Pruning (there is a short intro/advert from ExpatsRadio before the interview starts)….
This is a summary of my podcast interview….
~ Pruning encourages new growth
~ Pruning strengthens the remaining plant (more flowers, fruit next season)
~ Prune to remove dead branches or parts of the plant
~ Prune to protect plants with longer stems from wind damage or rubbing
~ Prune to give plants like hedges, trees a particular shape
~ Prune to prevent plants from damaging roofs by growing under tiles
WHAT TO PRUNE
~ Flowering shrubs,perennials
~ Fruit trees and shrubs,grapevines
~ Green hedges, grass (lawns)
~ Vegetables (asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke also deadhead cucumber, tomato, pumpkin towards the end of growing season, to encourage ripening of existing fruits
WHEN TO PRUNE
The best choice is to prune when the moon path is descending. Alternatively a waning moon will do. See our Moon Gardening Calendar for details
~ Flowers BEFORE midsummer prune after flowering
AFTER midsummer prune, cut back after winter
HOW TO PRUNE
IF you consider a few basic rules, most plants are very forgiving, even if you’re not an expert…..
~ Always use sharp and clean tools (disinfect your tools before going to the next plant to avoiding spreading disease.
~ Always cut just above a bud (outward pointing) and on a slant pointing the same directing than bud or stem when pruning healthy growth. IF leaves are opposite each other, then cut straight
~ When pruning remove dead and diseased parts and prune so there is enough light and air flowing through the center of the plant. Take the weaker branch off if they are crossing or rubbing on each other.
~ Shorten long branches to prevent wind damage or for better shape or convenience (fruit trees)
~ When pruning herbs, dry them for later usage by hanging up side down
~ Keep some seeds of finished flower stems (like Hollyhocks, Aquilegia,…..) to swap with neighbours
~ Keep some seed heads for birds and some look quite ornamental in winter. (Teasel, Phlomis)
Roses need dead heading regularly, always cut back to the next bud (just above outward bud) not in between. Always cut at an angle (slanted). Rambling roses should be pruned back in autumn. Take dead or diseased shoots out completely, shorten some main shoots to promote new shoots, Prune side shoots up to 2 to 4 pairs of leaves.
For other roses, tidy up to prevent wind damage . Main pruning is in spring (frost damage)- always choose “flower days” and descending moon phase.
Perennials like Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, Hyssop, Oregano become “leggy” if not pruned and can be cut back quite hard. Most of these plants were introduced by the Romans and the green parts don’t do too well in cold climates.
~ Lavender: Cut whole stem with flower plus 2 inches (5cm) of bushy growth
TIP: If your rosemary, lavender, winter savory… becomes too woody or leggy, replant the whole plant. Dig a bigger hole and bury the woody stem in the hole! The best time is to plant on descending moon, (planting time)on a leaf day for rosemary, winter savory. Choose a descending moon on a flower day for lavender )
PRUNING FRUITING SHRUBS
Fruiting shrubs like raspberries ,blackberries, blackcurrants need pruning after fruiting –cut old canes, with this year’s fruit just above ground or leave 4 buds -(on “a fruit day” with a descending moon)
Cut back Jerusalem Artishokes and asparagus in autumn (harvest Jerusalem artichoke on a root day)
PRUNING FRUIT TREES
Prune apple/pear in early spring (Feb) and Plum /cherry later, when first buds have opened. Choose a” fruit day” descending moon
Prune grape vine not later than Feb again on Fruit day with a descending moon path. In autumn take dead and diseased branches off. Most perennials can be pruned in autumn and again in spring when you would leave at least 3 buds on the stems. Never prune more that 2/3 of a plant at once.
TIP: Scratch the base of stem and look if it is green or brown to reveal if it’s still alive.