Carol Klein: Gardening expert’s top judicious pruning tips to keep trees ‘in good shape’

Carol Klein explains the importance of judicious pruning

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Carol Klein’s two-part masterclass airing tonight at 7pm on Channel 5 shares her gardening knowledge, including how to prune plants and shrubs properly. While many tend to neglect their garden in the winter and early spring, there are actually many jobs to get done before summer arrives.

Pruning is when you selectively remove branches from a tree or remove petals from a flower.

The idea is to remove any unwanted or dead branches, leaves or petals to help not only improve the structure of the tree or flower but to also encourage new growth. 

Gardening expert Carol Klein shared her pruning tips and tricks on the first episode of her two-part show.

She explained: “Judicious pruning is an important way to keep shrubs healthy and in good shape.

“Serious pruning where you cut away hard should be done in late winter or in early spring.”

Carol shared the best gardening tool to use for pruning large trees.

She explained that a lopper would be ideal and they’re essentially a pair of large, long handled secateurs. 

The expert added: “First of all take a really good look at it, look at its silhouette, I can see most of these branches are endowed with these lovely pink flowers, but here and there, there’s dead growth.”

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Carol proceeded to snap one of the branches off of the tree and began to cut away with her loppers, heading for the root of the branch.

“Begin to make a nice clean cut here…Once you’ve cut out the larger dead branches, snip out the smaller twigs with some secateurs.”

The gardener showed how while the branches may be covered with lovely pink flowers, there were dead branches hanging off of them.

She added: “Make sure you snip the dead wood first…sharp secateurs are an imperative when doing this, and every single plant has its own character and that’s what you want to maintain.

“So if you see things growing at a strange angle or just don’t look right, get rid of them and be brave.”

The gardening expert also explained the three reasons why it is important to prune.

Carol said: “We prune shrubs for these three reasons; to improve their shape and to encourage growth, to remove any dead, dying or diseased wood and to help the plant stay healthy.”

When a tree or plant isn’t pruned properly, the branches can grow too close to the power lines or windows.

If left unpruned entirely, branches close to the home can cause damage or even break a window.

February is a great time to start pruning things in the garden including fruit trees as well as bushes and shrubs. 

Shrubs however, tend to require little pruning and a once-over with a hedge trimmer is typically all they need.

Many summer-flowering shrubs can be pruned this month, which will allow them to blossom perfectly for summer.

Gardening with Carol Klein airs tonight on Channel 5 at 7pm.

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