Monty Don: Gardening expert shares top tips for pruning in February – prune now for summer

Gardeners’ World: Monty Don gives advice on planting for winter

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Gardening expert Monty Don regularly shares his top tips on various different topics. In his most recent blog for February 2021, he shared the top things that you should do in your garden this month. One of those included getting ahead with pruning, to make sure that the garden is summer ready.

Pruning is when you selectively remove branches from a tree or remove petals from a flower.

The goal is remove any unwanted or dead branches, leaves or petals to improve the structure and encourage healthy growth.

Monty shared his top pruning tips which include using a sharp tool.

He said: “Always use really sharp tools for pruning. Not only does it make life much easier but also makes for much cleaner cuts and therefore causes less damage to the plant. Sharp tools are much safer.”

Other pruning advice from Monty included never painting over pruning wounds as this seals in potential disease as well as making sure you don’t snip randomly.

The blog explained: “There is a lot of mystique about rose pruning, whereas the reality is that they are all tough shrubs that can take a mauling by anything from secateurs to a flail cutter and bounce back. However there are three considerations to bear in mind when pruning roses.”

The first tip from Monty included hybrid teas, floribunda and hybrid perpetuals.

These should be pruned “hard each spring” according to the expert, removing all weak, damaged or crossing stems.

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Shrub roses require very little pruning and a once-over with a hedge trimmer has proven to be effective.

Monty explained: “I prune mine in winter and early spring by removing exceptionally long growth, damaged or crossing branches and then leave alone. There is a strong case for doing this in late summer or early autumn.”

The last type of rose that needs pruning is either the true climbers or ramblers.

True climbers should be pruned in autumn or winter.

Monty added: “These side branches will carry the flowers on new growth produced in Spring. Ideally a third of the plant is removed each year – the oldest, woodiest stems – so that it is constantly renewing itself.”

Ramblers which have clusters of smaller flowers need to be pruned once in mid summer.

The expert explained that these need very little pruning but should be “trained and trimmed” immediately after they flower. 

The Royal Horticultural Society advises against planting rose in areas where roses were previously growing otherwise new introductions may suffer from replant diseases.

February is the best time to prune Buddleia davidii, also known as the Butterfly bush.

Monty shared: “If your buddleia is growing in the open it can be cut back very hard indeed – leaving just two or three sets of new shoots from the base.”

He added that if it is growing in a border, then it may be best to cut back to two or three feet from the ground.

Other things that can be pruned this month include fruit trees and bushes as well as any shrubs you may have in your garden.

Many summer-flowering shrubs can be pruned this month, which will allow them to blossom perfectly for summer.

Monty Don’s American Gardens continues tonight on BBC Two at 8pm.

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