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Summer Garden Pruning Tips

Golden August days are matched by the plants. Crocosmias, dahlias, sunflowers, buddleias and rudbekias are all jostling for attention as many gardens reach their peak. This is the busiest month for harvesting fruits and vegetables ready for the freezer. As always, there is much to be done.

Dead-heading flowers is an ongoing task. Most flowers benefit from having old flowers removed as they fade. It’s a gentle, easy job for a hot day. In particular, sweet peas develop new flowers rapidly and the more you cut them for the house the more they produce. Dahlias and chrysanthemums also last well as cut flowers and are wonderful to give away as gifts. In addition to dead-heading, plants in containers will need to be fed once a week to prolong the flowering period.

Prune rambling roses after they have flowered. All side shoots that have flowered can be pruned back to one or two buds from the main stems. Any new, strong shoots should be tied in to replace older shoots. Very old stems should be cut right back down to the base. In this way you’ll encourage new shoots.

Complete summer pruning of wisteria this month. Prune all the long new whippy growth back to five or six buds from the main stem. This encourages the plant to produce flower buds. If you have a young plant and want to extend the framework, leave the side shoots on but tie them in to where you want the growth to be. Established wisterias are very vigorous and it’s important to let them know who’s boss in the garden. Prune this month and again in February and they will reward you with abundance.

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