Gardening guru, Monty Don, reveals this important job to do in the garden before the end of March.
For those of us still learning to navigate the world of gardening, any inklings of garden advice are always welcome. And even for those who are more experienced, a little reminder doesn’t hurt.
Monty Don’s pruning advice
On his website (opens in new tab), Monty Don explains that March is the best time to prune any shrubs and climbers that will flower on new growth, in particular, late-flowering clematis, roses, buddleia, and caryopteris.’
‘I like to do this when I start to see new shoots appearing but resist the temptation to do so if there is a mild February as the subsequent regrowth can be nipped back by a late frost.’
He stresses the importance of pruning because failing to do so can often be seen as a garden mistake to avoid. If you want to bring your garden landscaping to the next level, then keeping on top of this is paramount, and it’s not all that difficult either.
The Royal Horticultural Society (opens in new tab) (RHS), explain that pruning is important because it helps restrict the size, remove dead or unsightly growth, increase vigour, improve the shape, or keep the plant in a healthy state to produce flowers, berries, etc.
Pruning shrubs is especially important because if left unpruned, may continue growing from where the growth ended the previous season, become top heavy, and flower well above eye level, according to the RHS.
‘Shrubs such as Cornus, Willow and Sambucus can also be cut back hard to encourage fresh shoots whose bark will glow with extra bright colour next winter,’ explains Monty Don.
Monty Don adds, ‘I know that pruning can be the cause of some anxiety but there is only one rule to follow which is always cut back to something, be it a side shoot or leaf bud. Other than that do not worry unduly about outward-facing buds or any such finessing.’
‘Cut with abandon or, don’t cut at all. Either way, the plant will almost certainly be fine.’
So, this is your sign. Before the month of March ends, consider going out there and tending to that long list of garden tasks you’ve been meaning to get round to. It’s the perfect way to usher in the spring season.