Alan’s August care tips
is the best time to prune many midsummer-flowering shrubs to keep
them vigorous and flowering well. It is also the ideal time to prune
several trees that are prone to bleeding if pruned at other times,
and it’s not too late to complete the pruning jobs for July if you
haven’t got round to them yet. I’ve given practical advice for
pruning Buddleja alternifolia, Buxus, Callistemon, Elaeagnus, x
Fatshedera, Genista hispanica, Grevillea, Helianthemum, Laurus,
Nerium, Philadelphus, Pyracantha and Thymus.
This elegant deciduous shrub bears its scented
flowers on stems produced the previous year. So to ensure good
flowering next year you need to prune immediately after flowering is
over, which can be anytime from late June to the beginning of
August. Remove any dead or damaged growth and shorten lop-sided or
over-long shoots to balance the overall shape of the shrub. Old and
neglected shrubs can be rejuvenated by cutting out one-in-three
stems, starting with the oldest. Either cut them back to a sideshoot
lower down or remove them completely. You will loose some flowering
shoots for next year but the shrub will be the better for it in
subsequent years. Alternatively, cut back two-thirds of the oldest
stems immediately after flowering.
The flowers of this exotic beauty are produced
on the tips of new shoots. Encourage bushy growth when young by
tip-pruning after flowering in summer. Well established plants do
not usually need routine pruning, but if they out-grow their
allotted space or have become neglected, they can be reduced in size
by pruning in stages over two or three summers, cutting back older
wood to younger, outward-facing shoots immediately after flowering.
This will encourage new shoots from the
Deciduous Elaeagnus angustifolia and E.
umbellata varieties require little routine pruning other than the
removal of dead or damaged stems. Old and neglected plants can be
rejuvenated by cutting back one-in-three stems, starting with the
oldest. Give hedges their final trim next month. Evergreen varieties
of Elaeagnus x ebbingei, E. glabra, E. macrophylla and E. pungens
require little routine pruning other than the removal of dead or
damaged stems. Overly long shoots that spoil the shrub’s shape can
be cut back to a bud using secateurs. Remove any plain green-leaved
shoots as soon as they appear, cutting them back to their origin.
Evergreen hedges can be trimmed at this time of year too.
This hybrid between Fatsia and Hedera makes a
splendid evergreen groundcover plant in mild areas. It can also be
trained as a standard and as a climber. Little or no pruning is
required other than the removal of wayward shoots and stems damaged
by frost. At this time of the year, cut back vertical shoots on
groundcover plants to keep them neat and compact and trim and tie in
shoots on trained forms.
These spreading deciduous shrubs put on a fabulous
show in early summer on stems produced the previous year. To retain
the plant’s bushy shape lightly trim the flowered stems immediately
after flowering. Do not prune back into woody stems because they are
unlikely to re-sprout and never prune back hard since this may kill
the shrub. Do not prune Genista lydia at all, since this does not
respond to being cut back. Old and neglected shrubs are best
In mild areas this exotic evergreen
shrub can form an attractive summer-flowering specimen. Little or no
pruning is required other than the removal of wayward shoots and
stems damaged by frost. You can encourage a bushy habit by lightly
prune the tips of new growth once flowering has finished. Trim
informal grevillea hedges at this time of year too.
Bushy evergreen hollies such as Ilex crenata as well
as holly trees trained as hedges, such as the common or English
holly, can be pruned to shape now that the growth has stopped but
before the stems are fully ripened. It is important to leave the
pruning of formal hedges to this time to avoid re-growth that will
spoil the hedge’s neat outline. Always use a pair of secateurs so
that you can avoid damaging the leaves that remain on the hedge
after trimming. Remove any plain green-leaved shoots on variegated
varieties as soon as they are noticed, cutting them back to their
Little or no pruning is usually required
on informal shrubs, other than the removal of dead or damaged stems.
However, you can keep topiarized shrubs neat and rounded by pruning
new growth back using a pair of secateurs. Bay laurel trained as
standards will need any new shoots cut from the main stem. Hedges
can also be trimmed for the second this time of year.
In mild areas this borderline-hardy evergreen
shrub requires little or no pruning other than the removal of
wayward shoots and stems damaged by frost. You can encourage a bushy
habit by lightly pruning the tips of new growth once flowering has
Several philadelphus can be
pruned at this time of year. You can prune mock orange (P.
coronarius) now that flowering has finished to improve flowering for
next year. Cut back flowered stems to a sideshoot that hasn’t
produced flowers or to a plump bud. Congested plants can have
one-in-three stems removed, starting with the oldest. Old and
neglected plants can be rejuvenated in the same way. Alternatively
you can prune in spring to get the best foliage displays. To ensure
good flowering on Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ and ‘Virginal’ which
bear their blooms on stems produced the previous year, prune
immediately after flowering is over. Well-established shrubs should
have one-in-four stems removed, starting with the oldest. Either cut
them back to a sideshoot lower down or remove them completely.
Feeding the plant after pruning will help encourage vigorous growth.
Old and neglected plants can have all old stems cut back to ground
level in winter or early spring. You will loose some flowering
shoots for next year but the shrub will be the better for it in
pyracantha is normally pruned in mid-spring, wall-trained specimens
can be pruned for a second time at this time of the year to expose
the developing fruit to make the most of the berry display.
No routine pruning is usually necessary, other
than the removal of dead flowers or damaged stems. This is best
carried out during midsummer when the cuts are less likely to bleed.
Wall-trained specimens need tying into their support and any wayward
stems cut back or removed completely. Old and neglected plants are
Little routine pruning is
necessary other than the removal of dead or damaged stems. All
plants should be rejuvenated by cutting back after flowering using
garden shears to retain a neat, compact shape. But do not cut back
into old wood since it is unlikely to re-sprout. Remove any plain
green-leaved shoots on variegated varieties as soon as they appear,
cutting them back to their origin.
Laburnum (golden rain)
Laburnums are best
pruned during late summer because they are prone to bleeding if
pruned in spring or early summer. However, you can also prune them
anytime up until Christmas. Laburnums make excellent specimen trees
or can be trained as an eye-catching standard or over a sturdy arch
or pergola to help show off their spectacular flower trails.
Specimen trees should only be pruned to improve the shape of the
canopy and to remove damaged stems, while trained forms will need
regular pruning to maintain the shape of the plant so that the
flower trusses can be clearly seen. Take care to remove any shoots
that appear from below the graft on grafted trees. Laburnums are
prone to cavities after severe pruning if the collar at the base of
the branch is damaged or stumps are left behind. For this reason it
is worth raising the canopy when the tree is still young and keeping
the stem clear as it grows.
poplar trees will form an attractive, well-balanced canopy without
intervention and so require no pruning other than the removal of
crossing or wind-damaged branches. Young trees should also be
encouraged to produce a clear trunk, so remove lower side branches
to gradually raise the canopy as the tree grows. Also remove any
suckers back to their origin unless you are growing the tree as a
windbreak, in which case the suckers will provide protection right
down to ground level. Old and neglected trees do not respond to hard
pruning and are best replaced.
routine pruning is required, other than the removal of crossing or
damaged stems. Overgrown plants can be thinned by cutting back
unwanted shoots to within a few buds of the main framework. This can
be done now (after fruiting) or during early spring.
Commonly called lobster claw or glory pea,
this frost-tender evergreen climbing shrub can be grown outside in
mild areas, where it will bear its distinctive flowers from spring
to midsummer. Although no routine pruning is necessary, pruning when
young and careful training will improve the overall display. Pinch
out the shoot tips after planting to produce bushy growth from the
base, then tie in new growth to the support. Once the support is
covered, prune now that flowering is over to restrict its size and
to remove any dead or damaged stems. Do not prune too heavily.
Reduce older stems by about one-third to just above a well-placed
side shoot lower down.
Hydrangea petiolaris (climbing
The climbing hydrangea is a popular, vigorous,
deciduous plant that can be used to light-up north-facing walls with
glossy foliage and heads of creamy white summer flowers. Although it
can take a few years to get established, once it starts climbing
there’s no stopping it. Little or no routine pruning is required,
apart from removing the flowered shoots at this time of the year. To
keep within bounds, prune back wayward shoots to a sideshoot lower
down during the dormant season. Old and neglected plants can be cut
back hard in winter, although you will miss out on the flowers for a
Little or no routine pruning
is required, apart from removing the flowered shoots as they fade.
Long, vigorous shoots can be cut back to a sideshoot lower down. Old
and neglected plants do not respond well to severe pruning, so cut
back over several years by removing one older shoot back to a new
sideshoot near to the base each year and cut back overly long shoots
by about one-third to keep the plant within bounds.