Pruning in Early April Guide

pruning in april

Get your pruning knives and secateurs ready –  early April is a key time for pruning shrubs and fruit to keep them healthy and productive. Get the timing wrong and you risk removing flowering shoots!

Shrubs to be pruned in early April: Buddleja, clematis, fatsia, hardy fuchsia, honeysuckle, hydrangea, winter flowering jasmine, lilac, hybrid tea and cluster flowered rose.

Fruit to be pruned in early April: Blueberries, figs, currants

Top Tips:
-Use a clean sharp knife
-Cut between 0.5cm - 1cm above the bud – to prevent tissue damage and infection.
-Cut at an angle sloping in the same direction as the bud – so water can run off and to encourage hormones to trigger growth.

How to prune bushes and shrubs

The things you might need to prune your bushes and climbing plants are bypass secateurs, folding pruning saw or a pruning knife set.

One of the key things you need to ask yourself before you go out and prune your bushes and climbing plants is why do you want to prune it? Are you trying to control the size? Are you trying to shape it up a little bit and improve its aesthetics? Or do you want to accomplish something else?

The last thing we need to know about pruning anything is what kind of timing we want. A lot of shrubs are planted because of their flower. A safe bet is to prune off the foliage just after the plant has bloomed, or when the bloom has got to the point where you no longer think it’s attractive.

One of the reasons you may prune a shrub is for structural reasons. A lot of times what you want is the branches of the shrub to be going outwards and not to cross internally where they might run against each other and compete for space.

When you remove a branch don’t cut too closely to the next branch. If you are going to err here, leave a little stub rather than trying to cut it flush up against the other branch. This will form a cut of bark that will be able to form around it and heal the wound.

Pruning Fruit Trees

Unless you are dealing with tropical plants, it is likely your tree will be part of the pome fruits or stone fruits family. The following pruning techniques will work for both.

pruning fruit trees

Start By Cleaning Up

It’s important to be using a sharp pair of secateurs, loppers and a pruning saw. Start by removing dead, diseased and damaged branches. Make sure you prune branches back flush to their parent, without leaving stubs.

Next Thin Out

Thinning out your tree will allow it to benefit from light and air, which boosts fruit production and reduces problems with pests and diseases. Just like allowing air into your greenhouse or polytunnel.

Remove any branches growing downwards, towards the centre of the tree or across the path of another branch. Aim to give every branch a good 6 to 12 inches of air space. Just like cleaning up, all cuts should be made flush to the branch.

Cutting Back

Cutting back the outermost growth of the tree will make the branches shorter and thicker, and more suitable to carry the weight of fruit. If this part isn’t done, branches can become long and gangly, and prone to snapping.

Consider Summer Pruning

If your tree is producing and excessive amount of growth each year, it is worth considering pruning in summer. Summer pruning depletes the tree’s resources and will help slow down its growth.