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

Usually done in spring susie to avoid risk of frost damage. I assume it's the standard green ternata? If there's  a lot to come off it you might prefer to do it in a couple of stages rather than hacking it right back in one go. If you want to have the flowers this year, you could wait till after it's finished,  take a bit off this year and the rest next spring.  A bit of feed afterwards and it should be fine. 

Thanks for a speedy reply.  When is spring?!   We are near the Somerset Levels and water is in abundance, if not with feed!


My sympathies susie.  

I'm in west Scotland and we're used  to high rainfall, but it's really taking the 'you know what' this year isn't it? We've been wetter than normal here, but we've got off lightly compared to a lot of areas. Here's hoping someone turns the tap off eventually.

Spring's coming soon - honest guv! 

I'd agree with Fairy Girl.

I had exactly the same problem with my Choisya............It had been shallow planted (and presumably never pruned ) : the winds just kept rocking itI and the roots became exposed.  I've pruned over a couple of years and now although a smaller shrub, it flowers well and seems a lot happier .  I also managed to get a good few cuttings from it in the process


If your'e so wet susie, I'd give it 6-8 weeks for some of the ground water to drop. This constant wet ground will kill some shrubs as the roots will be waterlogged. I wouldn't expose any plants to any stress right now or for at least until we have a serious dry spell. Unfortunately, the long range weather suggests this weather will continue for the next 3-4 weeks at least.


Dave - you're so right. We'd normally expect by April that the ground will be warming up and drying out - down south anyway - but who knows what the state of the ground will be in a couple of months. Last year we were freezing cold till May - maybe this year everyone will be waterlogged till then 

Do you think I should hold off pruning my dogwoods then Dave?  Clay here and very waterlogged.

Moved house last August, and inherited a 20 ft fig tree, on a south (house)wall.  Absolutely stuffed with fruit! wonderful, but overgrown and needs to be pruned and I don't want to kill it, but haven't got a clue what to do. Any advice more than welcome. There is also a limit to how many figs you can eat, let me tell you.   !!

Best not to prune choisya yet.  Wait for a few weeks.  They respond to hard cutting back.

However, Susie, check under your bush.  Choisyas often layer themselves so look for this.  Every choisya I have grown has been propagated by self-layered pieces.  Simply   remove with knife or secateurs and pot up.  A new plant will grow very quickly.  Sometimes quite a large piece can be found.  



Speaking of choisya, when we moved here 3years ago we inherited a large, really wayward one. I cut part of it off altogether and some down to the ground, the rest I left as it was.  This plant has barely flowered since, that's 2 summers, will it recover or should I chop ALL of it down and hope for the best.

I did feed it last year and I would like to keep it but would love to see it flowering.

I hope I'm not hijacking this thread by the way.



Its simply just responding to that hard pruning, viz., just growing.  

I would cut it all down.  I would then spring....prune again lightly to emerging shoots and aim to encourage a bushy plant.  It would restrict its energy to grow so much in the summer perhaps,helping it into flowering mode.  

I was bought a standard rose last year in a pot, it has very small read flowers. When and how should I prune it as I have not had a standard rose before?


I have a  large fig tree (Brown Turkey) and have just given it a good thining out and reduction of height for the second time in about 5 years. As it has several 'trunks' (as do other trees we inherited) I cut one out quite low from the middle and with long handled loppers cut longer branches back by 3/4 feet. I have left some longer branches which have young fruit on and they will no doubt be cut out next time. The tree grew well after the last 'trim' and still produces loads of fruit. Leave some branches with young fruit on so you will at least have some this year. Do the pruning now before the sap rises as the 'bleeding' sap can irritate. Watch out for extra growth from the roots.

Steve Bewers

Nice one.


When is best time to cut back lupins if at all

Thanks Verdun hope it will flower this summer but I will prune to emerging shoots and feed.....and pray!


I cut back lupins in summer by removing the flowered stems.  

No cutting back now though.  If there are dead/brittle old flowered stems remaining just clear them away. That's it.  

Lupins are already sending up new shoots here now. You could scatter some fertiliser around them soon and the odd slug pellet.  

Plants that bleed was difficult to read without spaces between words
I have moved to a cottage with overgrown pyrocanthus. I don't want to wait until birds are nesting in it to prune it well back. Can I do it now? I know it may stop the bloom and berries this year, but it is 8 ft tall and suffocating roses on the same trellis.