Monty Don shares the ‘one rule’ to follow when pruning the garden – job to do now
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Monty Don has shared gardening advice on the television screens for several years. Each month the expert also shares top gardening tips on his blog, including how to prune the garden this month. Monty wrote: “The first half of March is the best time to prune any shrubs and climbers that will flower on new growth and in particular late flowering clematis, roses, buddleia and caryopteris.
“I like to do this when I start to see new shoots appearing but resist the temptation to do so if there is a mild February as the subsequent regrowth can be nipped back by a late frost.
“Shrubs such as cornus, willow and sambucus can also be cut back hard to encourage fresh shoots whose bark will grow with extra bright colour next winter.”
Many gardeners may be worried when it comes to pruning because too much pruning can damage the shrub.
However, Monty explained that there is “only one rule” to follow when it comes to cutting back the garden.
He explained: “There is only one rule to follow which is always cut back to something, be it a side shoot or leaf bud.
“Other than that do not worry unduly about outward facing buds or any such finessing.
“Cut with abandon or, don’t cut at all.
“Either way the plant will be almost certainly fine.”
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It is important to prune the garden in order to encourage new growth in the spring and summer.
The expert added: “[New growth] will in turn produce lots of flowers and, in climbers such as the viticella group clematis, to stop the flowers being produced even higher and higher up the plant will correspondingly bare lower portion.”
Gardeners should aim to remove any dead, diseases or crossing stems too.
Shrubs can also be shaped to let light and air into the centre of the plant, helping it to grow in spring.
Winter-flowering jasmine can also be pruned in March, providing the flowers have faded.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) explained: “Remove any dead or damaged shoots, tie in new shoots to the main framework, and then shorten all the laterals coming off the main framework to five centimetres, cutting to a bud.
“This will keep the plant neat, and improve flowering next year. It is a good idea to feed and mulch after pruning, as the plant will put on lots of growth in response to cutting back.”
Summer-flowering jasmines can also be pruned back, if they need to be.
The RHS added: “Overgrown climbers can be renovated this month. With deciduous ones, you should now be able to tell which growth is dead and which alive, as the live stems will show buds bursting into life.”
March is also a good month for general garden maintenance, as the UK heads into spring.
The RHS recommended checking tree ties and stakes as well as removing weeds from young trees and mulching trees, shrubs and hedges.
The lawn may also need to be cut this month as the weather gradually gets warmer.
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