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14 messages
15/03/2014 at 12:00

Hello all!

Lovely day out. I've just spent the morning pulling up sticky grass or whatever it's called, which I've noticed is everywhere. I've got a couple of plants to ID, I am wanting to know what they are because I want to work out whether they need pruning, as I want to get the best out of them.

1) This first one makes up part of my hedge.

 2) This second one grows quite tall and I want to know if I can prune it to make it more bushy.


 Thank you in advance!

15/03/2014 at 12:03

The yellow looks like Forsythia and the pink Ribes.  I believe you can prune both after they've finished flowering.

15/03/2014 at 12:13

Phillipa has got it in one.

15/03/2014 at 12:13

Ah thank you Philippa. For some reason I thought the yellow ones were two different types but maybe not.

15/03/2014 at 12:19

The yellow ones may be different Jack, there's lots of different forsythias.

15/03/2014 at 12:24

Thank you nutcutlet, I'll have a look at different types. It seems such a difficult thing to learn about pruning. I'm just trying to gradually get to know all the plants, it's just hard to know what will be happy just left as it is and which plants will flourish more from pruning. Cheers all!

15/03/2014 at 12:59

Philippa's right, these can be cut back after flowering. Don't cut off the ends to a shape, cut some or all stems back hard

15/03/2014 at 13:10

Thank you. I'm curious what would happen if I didn't cut back at all. The reason I ask this, is it's a large plant that I'm trying to use it to hide an arbour type thing I built behind it. So I'm wanting it to be as large and dense as possible.

15/03/2014 at 13:21

The plants would get taller and thicker. I only cut back one of my Ribes, the other is a small tree, I like it like that. 

Forsythia gets very straggly but you can leave it like that for years and cut it back sometime if you want to. Pruning isn't what plants get naturally

15/03/2014 at 13:52

As a general rule of thumb Jack, if you want to cut back a flowering shrub, it's best done immediately after flowering.  That's not always the case, so do ask/google if you aren't sure, but it's a good guide.  You'll pick-up lots of tips like that as you go on.  Another one is 'growth follows the knife' which means pruning things (especially in Winter or early Spring) tends to make shrubs and trees grow more vigorously.  

15/03/2014 at 15:17

Thank you for all the advice, great stuff. I think I'll leave the Forsythia for a while and see how it goes. 

Yes, the growth following the knife is something that intrigues me, but also is worrying as a new gardener, because I worry that if I cut something right back then it won't grow back or will take forever to grow back tall, so I'd be left with a big gap where I'm trying to create a barrier. I'm sure like you say though I'll learn as I go along.


15/03/2014 at 15:25

That one foxes a lot of folk, Jack.  If (say) an apple tree was growing weakly on one side, you would prune the weak growth in Winter, not cut back the long branches on the other side.  It doesn't seem to make sense, but that's what you have to do.

It's not quite as cut and dried as that because if you prune in Summer, that will restrict growth.

15/03/2014 at 15:29


Hello Jack, if you want to know what an unpruned Forsythia looks like, I have one. It's some way behind the daffodils though. It's well taller than me and wide in all directions. Every now and then it's had a light trim with a hedgecutter. But they do get tatty in the middle and very dense. Flowering not as lush. I have a smaller one too which has been pruned and has better flowers, more ornamental. We wanted the big one to get big as it's a big garden.

15/03/2014 at 15:43

Thanks Bob, it's good to get any bit of advice I can at the moment.

Busy Lizzie, that is a big garden! Beautiful. That's a nice example of the Forsythia, yes, I want it to grow as big as possible really, I suppose I'll just keep an eye on it and tend to it if it seems to start looking tatty.


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