Ive always been a bit hesitant about pruning any k

Ive always been a bit hesitant about pruning any kind of plant, but years of gardening experience has taught me that often you have to prune your garden plants to get the best out of them. Plants are pruned for a variety of reasons. They will grow more vigorously and look more attractive when dead, diseased or broken branches are removed.

It may be necessary to trim parts off a young plant to encourage a particular mature habit. For instance, to create a handsome standard from what would normally be a bushy shrub would necessitate the elimination of all but one potential trunk and the removal of the lower branches. This principal applies also to the creation of topiary in your garden you must start to shape and train it from a very young age.

There are a few rules to observe when pruning make sure your tools are sharp, prune at the right time for the particular species, never prune just for the sake of it (that is to say just because a particular plant has grown well, unless it presents a problem). Prune lightly, rather than severely. You can always take off a bit more later.

Generally, fruit trees in our gardens around here dont need much pruning except for mulberries as they fruit on the new wood. Grape vines and passionfruit are much more productive when pruned.

The Lismore Garden Clubs social outing next month will be a nursery visit and afternoon tea on Tuesday, May 6, at 2.30pm at Precious Plants Nursery in Conway Street. Retired ambulance officer and orchid breeder Tom Maxwell will be the guest speaker. Bring a cup, plate, a folding chair and a plate of afternoon tea eats. Visitors and potential new members are most welcome. For further information phone me on 6624 7422.

Finally: When I think about pruning, I remember the time in 1973 when we were having difficulty getting a Papa Meiland rose to grow. Our son was just a little tacker then and as kids do tried to emulate his parents, even our gardening activities. One day I came home from work to find that he had found the secateurs and almost slaughtered the rose. That plant grew profusely and was covered in blooms as a result.

Happy gardening

Ron Burns


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