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What to prune in spring

Spring can be the busiest time of year for gardeners. Once day length and temperatures increase, our plants surge into growth. In addition to soil preparation, seed sowing and planting, there is also plenty of pruning to be done. Dogwood, lavender and sea holly are just some of the plants that should be pruned in spring - discover more, below.

Shrubs with colourful stems

Colourful stems

Decidous shrubs that benefit from hard pruning, such as:

· Cornus alba, C. sericea and C.sanguinea

· Ornamental rubus

· Willows

Key tool: pruning saw

How to do it: remove the previous year's stems right down to the base. This will encourage strong, young growth that has the most vividly coloured bark. You could also use a pruning saw.

Summer-flowering shrubs


Decidous shrubs that flower on new growth, which include:

· Buddleja davidii

· French lavender

· Lavatera

· Hebes

Key tool: secateurs

How to do it: cut back hard to reduce the size and tidy up the shape. This will encourage vigorous, flowering shoots. Prune any shrubs that flower after July, in spring. You could also use loppers or a pruning saw for thick branches.

Herbaceous perennials


Plants with decorative winter seed heads or stems, including:

· Deciduous grasses

· Sea hollies

· Sedums

· Thistles

Key tool: secateurs

How to do it: tidy perennials and ornamental grasses by removing seed heads and stems that were left for decorative purposes or as a winter habitat for insects. You could also use shears for thin shoots or loppers for thick stems.

Winter-flowering shrubs

Winter jasmine

Evergreen and deciduous shrubs and climbers, such as:

· Lonicera x purpusii

· Viburnum x bodnantense

· Winter jasmine

Key tool:

How to do it: most winter-flowering shrubs only need a light tidy up. After flowering, deadhead and trim into shape. This will encourage new growth that will flower next year. You could also use loppers to remove the odd branch.

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