Plants that need pruning now to ‘guarantee prolific flowering’, according to garden expert

is one of those gardening tasks that is as fundamental as and watering. 

The purpose of pruning can vary – you may prune to shape or train a , to improve plant health, or to prolong .

While the act of pruning in itself is not complicated, getting the timing right for certain plants is crucial to ensure you get the very best from them.

To help gardeners know what needs pruning in March, experts have shared their recommendations.

1. Cornus 

Cornus, better known as dogwood, can brighten up your garden during winter thanks to its colourful stems. However, older, dull, and congested dogwood plants that haven’t been well maintained, will “benefit from hard pruning”. 

The experts at Hedges Direct claimed: “This will stimulate healthy growth and help keep the stem colours vibrant.”

Start by cutting off any stems at the base of the plant that appears brown and dry. You’ll probably need to use a sharp pair of loppers for this, as the stems are likely to be thick and difficult to cut.

Then, you’ll want to cut back any remaining stems to around six inches above the ground. You should only need a pair of secateurs for this task, as the stems will probably be a lot thinner.

and mulching the soil after pruning will help your dogwood retain moisture and “encourage vigorous growth” as temperatures start to rise in spring.

2. Roses 

Pruning your plants can “encourage flowering and a healthier overall appearance”, claimed the experts. March is the ideal time to do this, as you’ll be able to see what you’re doing more clearly before new growth begins.

To prune, start by removing any dead or weak stems which appear brown, as this will prevent any disease from spreading. It will also allow your plant to focus on new growth instead of wasting nutrients and energy on dead stems. 

Your rose shrub may also need deadheading. This is the process of removing brown or wilted flowers to “encourage reblooming” in spring.

To deadhead your rose shrub, simply cut off the flower head with secateurs – just above a healthy leaf. The new bloom will grow from this shoot.

3. Perovskia

Perovskia produces an abundance of branching purple stems come late summer and early autumn.

The exerts at Hillier recommend cutting them back hard to the main framework as this “develops strong shoots and guarantees prolific flowering”.

4. Forsythia 

Once forsythia has finished flowering in March, Sarah Raven urged gardeners to prune them “immediately” as this “will improve flowering the following year”.

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