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Tis' The Season to be... Pruning?

We are only a couple weeks away from the day that we all like to indulge ourselves with food and drinks, I am very boring in that (if you have not gathered by now) I always think about plants! And Christmas is no exception.

Over the holiday season, I will be in my garden caring for my 30ft apple trees, most are over 100 years old, general tidying and should I say planting?

With all this being said, I though I'd share my techniques in pruning and some training, all I have picked up from my years in horticulture, most of which you might not hear/see in books due to my experience.

It has to be said that some people might not agree with my techniques, you reading this may feel the same, but I have had my share of reading books for gardening solutions, some of the time jargon is used and confuses the hell out of me (I've got a degree and it still feel like that! it may be so they can feel of knowledge about a subject and helping no one!) , the illustrations used really do not reflect either what I am wanting to achieve or is for plants in year one, two or three in its life (how realistic is that?), when in reality people have trees or shrubs in there garden that are 10+ years old.

So hopefully you reading this will feel better about tackling your garden (well, possibly?), if nothing else you share the same feelings about some of the horticultural books that are being offered!

I will try to share my experience when I undertake these, explain it to the best of my ability and achieving this together. Please do leave a message or drop me one if you have a question, or if you disagree with what I am saying.

Enough of that, and hopefully you have been able to get to this point without the feeling of me waffling on about rubbish!

This week I have done a bit pruning, firstly I shall discuss roses.

I know what some of you will be thinking while reading this, "why are you pruning roses? you are far too early! you should be doing it in late February or March." Yes I totally agree, but some time you need to prune the roses sooner for reasons such as the property you live on is too exposed, the roses became too long/leggy, just to name a couple of reasons.

Why should I not fully prune now? Because the rose buds can rot or frost off over the winter.

As mentioned it is too early to fully prune. When I prune now, I do it for the reason of reduction in height, approximately 25-50% in length on newly grown stem from the last season.

For those who have not pruned before or unsure, the other things you should look for are the three D's and the C, I am not going all 50 shades of grey on you (I promise!), the three D's are Dead, Diseases and Damage, the C is Crossing branches (see, I told you).

Now that I have explained that, when pruning, you need to remove all of them three D's and a the C, this is the general idea when pruning anything. Once you have done all the above, here is where the confusion can take hold or people just don't do.

The general shape you are looking for is a goblet, this means removing all growth towards the centre of the plant.

When the making each cut on the plant, choose a bud that is away from the centre of the plant, the cut should be on an angle away from the bud (this is so when it rains water does not rot the stem if flat, and damp off the bud if aimed towards it), this may seam thin-icky, but I try to aim for the cut to be about 5mm above a bud, too close the bud will rot, too far the stem will rot slightly and be prone to diseases.

As I speak about disease, best practise is to disinfect your cutting apparatus (I should of written this at the beginning, but ohh well), I use a well known kitchen/domestic disinfectant on all my tools, it like going to surgery, you would expect everything to be well disinfected before undertaking the procedure (this may be extreme, but you get the jist). And always good keep your tools sharp for a clean cut.

I will update on my practise once I have undertaken, so please stay in touch :)

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