Pruning in Autumn
Autumn is a busy time in many gardeners’ diaries, as well as preparing plants for Winter there is also pruning to be taken care of. Autumn is a popular time to prune for a variety of reasons, including:
- Getting plants into shape for the winter months, just because it’s Winter doesn’t mean your garden shouldn’t look good, shaping shrubs and trees makes your garden look significantly tidier.
- With the trees and shrubs in shape, a lot more light will get into your garden, which during the winter months when light is limited, is something your other plants will thank you for later.
- Perhaps one of the main reasons is to improve plant health. removing damaged or broken branches and removing any diseases before they can spread allows your plants to come back stronger after Winter.
- When it comes to trees, there is also a safety aspect to it, the last thing you want is to injure anyone walking through your garden when branches fall during strong winds or frost. Prior planning and taking those branches down before they can harm you will prevent this and any other damage they may cause. (Pruning of smaller trees is important but also the felling of larger branches is essential, if you do not have the knowledge or experience to maintain these trees yourself then it is recommended contact professionals)
What do you need?
What tools you need will completely depend on your garden, the size, and what plants you have in there as well as your skillset but here is a quick overview of the variety of tools that are available to make this process as efficient as possible.
Sheers is an old classic and a lot of people won’t sway from them even if it takes them twice as long. If you have a smaller garden or do not have a lot of shrubs to prune then shears are ideal, they aren’t costly and they can last a long time with proper care. However, there is some skill required when it comes to shaping your shrubs with sheers, in this instance, practice makes perfect!
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If you have a lot of large shrubs in your garden or a large amount of space to cover then it can be beneficial both timewise and effort-wise to invest in a good hedge trimmer. If you’re into your gardening then Autumn won’t be the only time you use it, this allows you to cut faster and maintain consistency easier than with sheers. With the help of some tips, Shaping can also be easier with a hedge trimmer, but more practice is always better. If you’re worried about running costs, then a battery-operated hedge trimmer can be more beneficial as well as being more cost-effective to run, it is also quieter and produces no emissions, doing your part for the planet as well as your garden.
Long-reach hedge trimmer
For those with high hedges, you can get a long-reach hedge trimmer or a pole extender if you’re someone with a multitool. This allows you to safely ensure that the top of your hedges is neat and that they receive the same TLC as the rest of your shrubs.
For smaller trees, a pair of clippers or sheers will be able to handle some Autumn pruning with the addition of a bit of brute strength.
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For those that perhaps don’t have the brute strength, or have a larger garden to tackle then a handheld garden pruner can be the solution to a well-maintained garden with ease. What’s even better is these pruners are often battery powered, for example, this Stihl cordless handheld pruner.
If you have taller trees then aside from pulling up a ladder, it can be particularly difficult to get the higher branches, missing these branches can be more dangerous as if they do decide to fall they may inflict more damage. To prevent this, a long-reach pole pruner will enable you to reach those higher branches safely and with ease.
If the branches are particularly large, perhaps larger than your pruning devices can handle a chainsaw may be more appropriate, domestic saw will the trick unless its an extremely large branch. Unless you are knowledgeable about chainsaws or have experience with them, it’s not recommended to just get a chainsaw and do it yourself. If you are worried about a larger branch that may be broken, close to falling, or diseased and you don’t have the skill set for a chainsaw then it is recommended to contact a professional tree service.
While completing all of these jobs, safety equipment should be worn, it is recommended that gloves should be worn to prevent scratches but as well as this, particularly when pruning trees, eye safety equipment and a helmet should be worn to protect yourself from flying or falling debris.
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Pruning, How much do you cut?
How much you cut back on each plant or tree will be dependent on the type of tree it is, as well as what sort of state it is in. This a great article to read which goes through a few species of plants that could benefit from a prune and how much, on average to cut back. Read this article by Gardening etc.
Things to look out for.
Aside from the obvious safety tips of ensuring you are wearing appropriate safety equipment when using any high-powered machine, there are also a few other tips to look out for.
You must carry out checks on your trees and shrubs before pruning to ensure that there are no nests there. Even if the nests are empty at this time of year, some species tend to return to the same nest next year so it is best to avoid disturbing these.
For shrubs on the floor, this watch out for nature also extends to hedgehogs, just being aware of your surroundings when using power tools around animals’ potential homes is essential.
In terms of plant health, it is important to recognize that sometimes, pruning can allow the disease to enter through the cut, it is, therefore, important to be aware of the signs for different plant diseases and fungi so that you can treat any issues early. There are a lot of sites online dedicated to providing you with this sort of information, if you do notice changes in your plants and trees, similar to how you do when you have a cold, you can input their symptoms online to determine a cause and also a remedy.