When And What You Should Prune: A Pruning Guide

Where To Start?

A perfect place to start is to remove dead, diseased, or damaged stems as soon as you see them. Dead branches and stems attract harmful insects that increase the chance for disease. 
Another great place to start is to remove branches that are rubbing together and upright shoots growing off the trunks. 

Annual Flowers

By removing the dead or faded heads (deadheading) of flowers, the plant is able to put more energy into blooming, therefore improves growth. 
If the plant develops bare stems at the base, remove the stem and it will force the plant to grow more compact. 

Perennial Flowers

By deadheading the flowers, the look of them will be significantly improved. It is also a good idea to deadhead the flowers if they are too leggy or starting to bend out from the middle of the plant. 
A benefit of this is that most perennials will be able to push out another bloom cycle before deadheading again. 

Deciduous Fruit Trees

Apples, crabapples, plums, peaches, cherries and pears should all be pruned in midwinter. This has been debated in the past due to removing some of the buds but the goal is to open the tree to more light and allow for a better crop of fruit rather that maximum bloom. 
It is essential to prune a lot of fruit trees in winter because the plant is dormant therefore at less of a risk of bacterial disease. 


Prune roses and climbers that bloom annually after they finish blooming. 
There are several roses that bloom repeatedly. Prune these to your own custom shape and always remove damaged and diseased branches. 

Shaped or Clipped Hedges

Buxus, privet and other shrubs are often trimmed to form a hedge. To form a wall or solid hedge, trimming several times when the new growth is coming through will make a big difference. It is essential not to have the top wider than the base as it will shade the lower branches. 

Compost Carbon-to-Nitrogen Ratios

All organic matter is made up of a large amount of carbon (C) combined with smaller amounts of nitrogen (N). This balance in an organism is called the Carbon to Nitrogen ratio (C:N ratio).  Compost scientists have determined that the fastest way to produce good quality compost is to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, or 25-30:1. If the C:N ratio is too high (too much carbon), the decomposition slows right down. If the C:N ratio is too low (too much nitrogen) you will end up with a very smelly compost pile.
In this table we have the average C:N ratios for the most commonly found organic materials. We consider high carbon content materials as "browns" and high nitrogen content as "greens". 

Estimated Carbon to Nitrogen Ratios

Browns = High CarbonC:N
Ashes, wood25:1
Cardboard, shredded350:1
Corn stalks75:1
Fruit waste35:1
Newspaper, shredded175:1
Peanut shells35:1
Pine needles80:1
Wood chips400:1
Greens = High NitrogenC:N
Coffee grounds20:1
Food waste20:1
Garden waste30:1
Grass clippings20:1
Vegetable scraps25:1

Lawn Mowing Without a Catcher

Mowing your lawn can be a real hassle when always having to catch and empty the grass every few minutes.

Hand Mower With a Catch
A large amount of people don't realise that not bagging your lawn clippings is actually very beneficial to your lawn. While it has its setbacks such as thatch, it's definitely worth it when looking for a luscious green lawn.

By not catching your lawn clippings, you're doing your grass a favour and returning the nutrients back into the soil to be reused. This is great for your lawn as it means it acts as a natural fertiliser and moisture holder on those hot dry days throughout summer.

Methods For Dethatching A Lawn

Dethatching Rake.
Lawn dethatching has become more and more popular over the years. Especially now that a large portion of people are not catching the grass they mow. By not using a catcher in a lawn mower, the cut grass acts as a fertiliser as well as a moisture sponge. This allows the grass roots to reuse nutrients and make the most of the moisture on a hot day.

Ride on mower with dethatching attachment.

As the thatch strangles the lawn, it also puts a lot of stress on the grass making it more susceptible to insect damage and disease.

There are a few different ways to dethatch a lawn, however, most commonly used is a unpowered dethatcher. While this is cheap, it certainly isn't the fastest way.

Petrol Dethatcher.
Petrol or electric dethatchers are becoming more and more popular with time. Not only are they fast and efficient, but the new technology over the years is incorporating other tools such as aerators into them as well.

Edging Your Lawn With A Line Trimmer

Check out this video on lawn edging with your line trimmer. I personally do this a lot and find it a fast and convenient way to edge the lawn. It takes a while to get used to but once technique is sorted, it's super easy!