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What to prune in autumn

Autumn is a busy season in the pruning calendar. Many currants and berries will profit from thinning out, as will perennials that lack decorative seed heads that could be left over winter. Also, autumn is the time to tackle plants such as lavender and rosemary, which won't withstand pruning in winter. Discover more, below, in our summary of autumn pruning jobs.

Soft and bush fruit



· Blackcurrants

· Gooseberries

· Summer-fruitingraspberries

· Redcurrants

Key tool:secateurs

How to do it:prunesummer-fruitingraspberriesaftertheyhavefruited – pruneoutthefruitedstems. Inthecoolermonths, pruneblackcurrants, gooseberriesandredcurrants. Pruneoutthefruitedstemsofblackcurrantsandgooseberries. Cutthecurrentseason'sgrowthofredcurrantsrightback, downtoapairofbudsfromthebase. Blackcurrants, gooseberries, redcurrantsandautumn-fruitingraspberriescanalsobeprunedinwinter. Youcouldalsouseloppers.

Herbaceous perennials


Untidyvarietiesthatlackdecorativeseedheads, includingthefollowing:

· Delphiniums

· Lupins

· Peonies

· Phlox

Key tool:secateurs

How to do it:ifyourbordersarefulloftallandmessyperennials, youcanremovedeadflowerstems (andbasalfoliageifnecessary) totidythingsuppriortowinter. Youcouldalsousehandshears.

Mediterranean shrubs


Sun-lovingshrubsthatwillnottoleratehardpruninginwinter, suchas:

· Cistus

· Commonlavender

· Cottonlavender

· Rosemary

Key tool:topiaryshears

How to do it:afterflowering, cliptheplantstotidy, deadheadandreshapeallinonego. Don'tcutbackintooldwoodinautumn. LeavetenderFrenchlavenderuntilspring. Youcouldalsouseshearsorsecateurs.

Yew hedges


Tough, hardy yew can tolerate later pruning than most other hedging plants.

· Taxus baccata and its varieties

Key tool:
hand shears

How to do it: if you only want to clip once a year, then do it in early autumn – the outline will stay crisp all winter. You could also use secateurs and topiary shears for intricate details.

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