DIY Pruning Guide
THE HOW, WHY & WHEN OF PRUNING
August is the best time for pollarding. And no, we’re not talking about cricketers or rugby players. We’re talking about pruning.
If you don’t know your branch axil from your stub cut - here’s a handy guide on topiary tools, techniques and more.
WHY SHOULD I PRUNE MY GARDEN?
Pruning is an essential annual gardening activity that is not only done for neatness. Trimming down and topping off your plants also takes care of any potential pest infections that could be lurking in the stems, leaves or drying fruits. But most importantly, pruning encourages a denser growth, and a more luscious harvest of leaves, flowers and fruits.
WHAT TOOLS WILL I NEED?
- Pruning shears (i.e. Pruners, Clippers, Secateurs)
This common pruning tool is perfect for shrubs, flowers, vines and minor growth on trees. These hand-held shears can cut twigs and branches less than 1.5cm thick.
- Lopping shears
Similar to pruning shears, except the blades are thick and the handle is longer. They are available in anvil, bypass & ratchet styles and work well for branches over 5 cm thick. Lopping shears are especially useful for pruning trees and vines.
- Hedge sheers
With its long cutting blades, this tool is best used for shearing shrubs, evergreens and deadheading perennials. They are best utilised on branches up to 5 cm thick.
- Pruning saw
As its name suggests, this tool is used for sawing down branches that vary between 2 – 12cm in thickness. They are also available in many different styles of blade.
- Pole pruner
This pruning tool resembles an elongated version of the pruning saw. They can extend up to 8 metres, ideal for reaching into tall trees to trim off dead branches and debris. They are best used on branches up to 3 cm thick.
- Safety glasses – For protection from branches or falling debris.
- Gardening gloves – To protect your hands from blisters or thorns.
- Ladder – for when a pruning saw can deal with the job.
- Check your ladder for any dents in the framework to ensure it is in working condition.
- Ensure the blades of your cutting tools are oiled before cutting, to not only ensure their longevity but also to assist with a smoother, less jerky cut.
- Ensure any loose, dead branches in tall trees have been removed so that the coast is clear when you start cutting.
- Wear safety gear to protect from any falling debris or splinters.
THE PERFECT PRUNING METHOD:
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
It’s a good idea to ensure all your cutting tools are sharp and if they aren’t, it’s a perfect opportunity to get brand new quality tools at your nearest BUCO. The cleaner the cut, the better the chance of a fresh new grow, instead of a dead stem / branch.
HOW TO MAKE THE CUT:
Firstly, remove all the dead branches and leaves so they don’t get in your way. To check if a branch is dead, scrape off a little piece of bark and if there’s green tissue underneath then it’s not dead yet. Also, ensure that your ladder is directly below or next to the area you need to cut, so you don’t over extend yourself. Take a step back every now and then to observe the plant’s natural growth habit, so the trim looks natural.
A FEW FINAL TOP TIPS:
- Once you are done with all your pruning, spray your plants with a lime sulphur solution. This will regulate fungi spores on the plants and in the ground. Caution: Don’t spray lime sulphur on plants with active growing foliage, as it will damage them. Always use fresh lime sulphur and always follow the instructions on the label.
- To ensure that your cutting blades don’t transfer any diseases between plants, regularly disinfect them in a white vinegar solution.
Still have a few questions? Luckily, BUCO’s in-store experts make the cut when it comes to expert advice, and our wide selection of quality gardening tools will serve all your trimming tasks. Visit your nearest branch to get started with professional pruning this Winter.
Find your nearest BUCO branch here