Now is the time to get out and prune some of the plants in your garden. It helps in windy gardens to cut roses and buddleias part way down to stop the wind rocking them. Otherwise it is time to prune those plants that are too impatient to wait till spring before their sap rises. These are the birches, acers, vines and mulberries. I once lodged with a man who made birch sap wine. Think of all those acers which are tapped for maple syrup.
If you leave it till after Christmas you will find these plants bleed and it will weaken them. I have an acer negundo ‘Flamingo’, which can grow to be quite a big tree but since its
beauty is in the new growth which is cream green and pink I keep it cut back to a three foot stem. Last year I checked by cutting off one stem and it was fine, the next week when I had time to cut it right back it bled freely, which meant I had to leave it and I now have a rather larger than usual tree to deal with this year. It made about ten feet of growth.
One tree to leave till late spring are the deciduous magnolias, which is great because it means you can have the spring flowers before you cut them back. I would be better if you did not need to prune them and could have found it a space where they could spread themselves.
This is the problem with pruning, do you need to do it. Should you have planted it where it could grow to its preferred height or have you decided that you want lots of plants and they will just have to put up with being pruned to keep them in the space allotted. There is no right or wrong way. I have always maintained that it is your garden and it is up to you how things grow and what you have in it.
[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]