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Talkback: What to prune in winter

I have a huge overgrown choisya and want to reduce the overall spread. How and when should I go about it?

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Yes Rose, you can cut it back as hard as you like.  In future years look to pruning shoots that come away from the wall and to shorten shoots to keep it relatively compact.  

Thanks for the fig advice! I will have a go drekkly., before the sap gets going. 




I have a choisia, probably about 10/11 years old as it was here when I moved in.  It is under a laburnham tree and a very large bay tree bush (poor thing)  Hardly flowers but I dont mind as just want it to infill that bit of gardebn.  It is a bit leggy so should I prune half of it hard in a week or so and they do same again next year to make it look more healthy?  I live in West Dorset.


this will be my firs notice after signing into gardeners world, so here goes...
I have a 4 /5 shrubs and 3/4 saplings I've transplanted around my garden but my plant identity skills have faded.
apart from asking an amateur botanist to make a visit I can't seem to care prune or even know if I've sited them correctly. Any suggestions welcome

Hi Graham, welcome

I'd start  a new thread and post photos for ID.

Then someone will know what to do with what you've got


I need to cut back an overgrown Laurel. Could you give me some advice as to how and when?
When is best best time to prune my Hydrangea? It is now about 4 feet high and I wish to cut it back to about 2feet.
I have a large mulberry and it's spreading a little further than I'd like (over the paths).
When and how should I prune it so as not to damage the tree or jeopardise next year's fruit.
How can I prune, or better still get rid of vinca that grows everywhere at the house we have just bought? Its overrunning the garden. Thanks

Wildlife Ranger and Linda Layton - Hello to you both.

It would be better if you both started individual new threads  (Button towards top right) with the name of the plants in question in the title -  then people with relevant knowledge and experience will see your queries and be able to assist.

This is a more general thread dating back a few years. 

Lesley,,I Would wait now until spring and prune as hard back as you like

Trev, unless paniculata type, wait until spring.  However, 2' is too small.  Remove old flowered stems back to next  pair of buds.  Cut oldest wood back to fhe base if you have any.  4' is not old is this bush?

I've always understood that Wisteria should be pruned in winter - am I wrong, has it got forgotten from this list or is there something else to this that I am not aware of?

Rob Graham
I have been chopping off old Hellebore leaves recently since the new growth seems to be starting at the base for the Winter flowers. They looked unsightly anyway since I have been plagued with snails again despite the slug pellets. I think the clay soil must suit them and I have a neighbour with an aversion to killing them; she prefers to take them into the wood opposite "for the hedgehog" who often doesn't seem hungry so they safari nocturnally across the road to my garden and feast on my plants!
I have a clematis whose name I can't remember. It's not huge, shall I just cut it back to ground level?


Newcastle, yep those smails will do just that....viz., return to their feeding ground.

i have cut all the leaves off my hellebores now.........mulching right away helps control any black spot spores.  Be careful though....i know someone who cut all the "leaves" off.....she had cut off the emerging flower buds. 

Have had to move where I park my car and now some branches on my 5year old plum tree poke me in the eye when I get out. Can I cut off some branches without causing problems? Can I cut close to trunk or just shorten the branches.

LoopyLoo, don't prune your plum tree until early spring or (preferably) midsummer or you risk it getting 'silver leaf' which is a nasty fungal disease which infects stone fruit trees in their dormant season and may kill it.  If you absolutely must cut it back, then remove a minimal amount now and then cut those same branches back in spring or  summer.  That way you should remove any infected wood before it spreads throughout the tree.  You can cut branches back to a side shoot or close to the trunk.  See the RHS advice here:


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