As we gently amble towards winter and most of the fruit trees have finished doing what they do, it’s timely to consider the garden chore of pruning.
Pruning does a few things in a garden. Firstly it encourages fresh new growth, particularly in the spring. Secondly it allows air and light to circulate, particularly in those bushy plants where mould and disease may be prevalent. Thirdly it’s great for shaping growth, particularly plants such as native pittosporum, which can otherwise can become large and ungainly.
Fruit trees are probably the first candidate for pruning, particularly after fruiting, to help control any form of bacterial disease or canker and promote new growth. While we love to chip and retain the clippings in the form of compost, any growth showing signs of disease such as canker or leaf curl should be disposed of (ie the dump or incineration) and not retained in the garden via compost or chipping.
A sharp pair of secateurs is ideal on stems and small branches up to around 10mm thick, ensuring the stem is cut near a node or close to the trunk. Pruning larger branches may require some specialised equipment, especially if these need to be pruned at height. If using a hand saw, it’s often best to undercut a branch some distance from the intended final cut, then remove most of the foliage, then cut it again at the intended place, so as not to damage or rip the bark. Any major cuts should be sealed with pruning compound, but as the former TV gardening personality James Sterling used to say (anyone remember his slightly laconic Scottish accent?), simply dab on a bit of acrylic paint.
We have a range of pruning equipment and chippers (there’s more suggestions for chipping at our blog post http://bit.ly/UHHz8mh ) so please check out our webpage http://www.upperhutthire.co.nz/product-category/projects/gardening/