Different trees and shrubs flower during different times of the year, so pruning at the wrong time of year could actually have detrimental effects to your garden. Picture: Supplied

With the seasons changing, you are probably looking at your garden with a fair amount of despair.

There is nothing quite as impressive as a luscious green and colourful garden, the kind you get in the summer time. But, what if we had to say to you that autumn and winter plays an important role in the overall health and appearance of your garden? 

Pruning, a word and an action you should always prioritise, at least once a year. The tricky part is knowing when the ideal time is to pick up those pruners.

Different trees and shrubs flower during different times of the year, so pruning at the wrong time of year could actually have detrimental effects to your garden. It is usually advisable to prune during winter as trees are dormant at that time. There are a couple more things you should know before getting out your pruners, such as what is pruning, how to prune and why you should prune.

Firstly, pruning refers to the trimming and cutting of plants in order to rid them of injured or infected roots; to make space for new growth; to eradicate pests and types of fungi; and to allow for a larger blooming garden. 

READ: Start your year off in the garden

Pruning can be divided into five categories or kinds of pruning: 

  • Pinching is where one prunes the top growth bits of branches
  • Selective Pruning as the name suggests, certain branches are selected for pruning whilst others are left undisturbed to bloom. This allows for sunlight and air to move through the plant which is essential to reduce insect infestation.
  • Full Pruning – All branches are pruned to stub size
  • Rejuvenating or Hard Pruning – Hard pruning is a drastic measure for mature plants that aren't growing or blooming well. You prune much larger branches – this method is particularly useful for those old plants that are tall with lots of sticks and stems but few leaves and flowers. A hard prune will force the plant to regrow a more compact, rounder bush
  • Corrective Pruning. This method only involves pruning branches that are unwanted or damaged so the pruner removes dead tips or cuts off very long stray branches which stick out in unappealing ways. The goal is to prune only enough to create a healthy, balanced plant.

When choosing pruning shears, it is vital to consider your hand size and shape. “There are two basic types of pruners you need in your garden arsenal namely, bypass pruners and anvil pruners. It’s also important to note the kind of pruning you need to do, and the grip strength is also just as important,”
says business manager for Garden Master, Kristin Denyer. 

"Bypass pruners are best for live plants as they offer a clean cut from two curved blades much like a pair of scissors do; while anvil pruners, which are best for dead wood, have one straight blade that cuts as it closes onto a flat edge.”

Blunted tools can harm and delay plant growth as they will tear and damage branches, so a razor fresh sharp tool set might be necessary.