Pruning and winter go hand in hand and play an essential part of a plant’s care whether it is a tree, shrub or groundcover. July in the Cape is rainy, windy and cold outside but this is the time to do pruning to encourage healthy growth, flowers and fruit for summer.

Why do we need to prune?

1.  Your first objective is to maintain the health of your plants by keeping your plants free from dead or diseased branches, and encourage new growth and healthy-looking plants;

2.  Prune to shape your plant as it grows, especially when it is young to make it bushier or more compact when using plants as a hedge;

3.  To prevent a plant getting too large for the space it was originally planted in, or when blocking a beautiful view;

4.  Plants can become old and leggy, but you can rejuvenate them by pruning them back, especially fast-growing plants needs regular pruning;

5.  Prune to correct some defect like eliminating branches that rub against other branches, or so that more light or water can reach the inner branches or improve air circulation. Pruning branches to correct the balance between the crown and roots promotes healthy plants;

6.  If your plant is a flowering or fruiting type, you need to prune to encourage the best conditions for prolific flowering and fruiting. Additionally, this allows air and sun to reach fruit in the centre;

7.  To achieve sculptural shapes, known as topiaries, the two-dimensional pattern achieved by pruning and tying fruit trees or shrubs to a frame (known as espalier). The deliberate dwarfing of certain trees or shrubs that mimic the shape of fully-grown trees in a small container (known as bonsai). These are all fashion novelties, and these differently trained or shaped plants are used as an architectural elaboration of your house.

Pruning is more than simply cutting of branches of a tree or a shrub to keep it from overgrowing. Pruning is the key to controlling the size or shape of your plants, their flowers and fruit. It also promotes new life in your garden as well as healthier and better-looking plants.

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