( ALGS )




Abbots Langley Gardening Society

September 2009

This months meeting was a very interesting talk given by Stuart Phillips on pruning trees and shrubs

Two points to consider when pruning are how does the plant grow and what is the final result wanted. A good pairs of secateurs are needed for anything up to the width of a finger but over that lopers or a pruning saw should be used. Stuart prefered to use a bypass secateur as opposed to the anvil type which unless very sharp have a tendency to crush and damage the stem while cutting . The secateurs should be sharpened and sterilised every time they are used to prevent the spread of disease from one plant to another, a flame or ( for the non smokers) Jeyes fluid will sterilise them.

Growth of a branch is controlled by the tip, if that is removed the hormones of the plant will encourage the side shoots to grow and Stuart spent some time talking about how to stop some buds from sprouting while encouraging others to control the shape of the shrub by nicking and pairing the buds and divert the flow of this hormone. The timing is also important as winter pruning will make the plant grow well next year, while summer pruning will slow the growth.

The basic rules of pruning are to remove any dead, diseased or crossing branches first. Prune just below a bud with an outward sloping cut, for the rain to slide off and shrubs are pruned after flowering, try to prune back to the original shape.

One other intersting fact was how the victorian head gardener who would be recognised by his bowler hat would check that the apple trees had been pruned correctly by throwing his bowler hat through the centre of the tree and if it went through the branches the centre was open enough to give a good air flow and a job well done. Stuart omited to say what happened if the hat got stuck.