Pruning and Tidying

  • Cut down old growth of perennials and grasses left over winter.
  • If soil is workable, dig in a layer of compost or manure, and work in a slow-release fertiliser manure, or fish, blood and bone.
  • Weeds will have started to grow, so keep removing them whenever you can.
  • Split polyandrous after flowering.
  • Lift and divide your summer-flowering perennials – you can tell which ones you need to attend to by the large clumps that are pushing outwards from the ground with fresh young shoots at the edge of the clump.
  • Prune shrub roses – remove all dead and crossing wood on your rose bushes and cut the rest back by at least a half, aiming to cut just above an outward-facing bud.
  • Later in the month, clip box topiary and hedging in to shape if it looks unlikely that we’ll be having any hard frosts, at least in the South, so the danger of scorching new growth will hopefully have passed.
  • Prune young hedges – cut one or two-year-old hedges back by a third. This might feel brutal when you’re desperate for new growth but will make a better hedge – thick and strong, even at the base, rather than one that is left tall and gangly with gaps at ground level.
  • Continue to deadhead hydrangers before new growth appears. Cut to about one third of last season’s growth.
  • Prune forsythia as soon as they have finished flowering, cutting back to strong, young shoots.