Carol Klein explains the importance of judicious pruning

Angela Slater, gardening expert at Hayes Garden World, told “Some plants which have flowered in spring should never be pruned in August as they make their buds for next spring’s blooms in summer.

“So, if you prune in August, you are taking off next year’s flowers. These plants include rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.

“It is also important in summer to make sure they never dry out and give them some dedicated fertiliser, which will also ensure a profusion of blooms next spring.”

Some early summer flowering shrubs, such as philadelphus and deutzia, make their buds the following year in late summer and early autumn.

This means they should not be pruned this month because gardeners will “run the risk” of them not flowering, especially if the weather is overly wet, cold, hot or dry.

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The gardening expert added: “Pruning evergreen shrubs in August can lead to a spurt of new growth, especially if the weather is damp and warm.

“This soft new growth is then susceptible to being caught by any early frosts and may not have time to harden before winter.”

This soft growth could then turn black and look unsightly, severely affecting the new growth in spring, according to Angela.

Another big no-no when it comes to pruning this month includes climbing roses as cutting them could prevent a second flush of blooms.

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This means Britons should leave the pruning until the end of October, or even early November to give the best chance of more flowers.

Angela continued: “Also don’t prune fruit trees as you leave them open to disease. If the weather is too hot and dry in August, leave any pruning as the plants will be stressed and not be able to cope with the added stress of being cut back.”

Instead, focus on the plants which can be pruned, unless it is particularly hot weather, including wisteria.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said: “Wisterias can be left to ramble unchecked where space allows but will usually flower more freely and regularly if pruned twice a year.

“The removal of growth in summer allows better air circulation and more sunlight to reach the base of the young growths, encouraging better ripening of the wood and improving the chances of flower bud formation.”

To prune in August, cut back the “whippy” green shoots of the current year’s growth to five or six leaves which will help to control the size.

Other jobs to make sure are completed this month include regularly watering plants if needed and staying on top of lawn care.

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