How to prune winter shrubs: Three steps for cutting back evergreen plants ahead of spring

Homebase reveals what to do in your garden in February

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Over winter, green-fingered gardeners can hang up their gloves for a break while their plants are dormant. However, as the weeks roll on towards spring, it’s just about time to get back in the garden and start giving your plants the TLC they need to reach their full potential this spring and summer. The best time to prune evergreen shrubs is just a few weeks away – here’s everything you need to know about pruning your evergreens.

Evergreen shrubs are soon to reach their growing period, which takes place in mid-spring.

To guarantee the strongest growth for your shrubs this year, pruning your evergreens before their growth spurt is a good idea.

Not only will pruning your evergreens soon encourage growth, but it also gives you the chance to inspect your plant for any signs of disease or other problems.

Here’s how and when to prune your evergreen shrubs ahead of spring.

When should you prune evergreen shrubs?

While the best time to prune shrubs is before they hit their growth period in mid-spring, timing is key.

The most essential thing is to hold off on pruning until any risk of frost has passed.

This could depend on where you live in the UK, and what the average temperatures and weather forecast suggests.

If you prune evergreen shrubs and then a cold snap with frost hits, you risk killing the new shoots.

So as long as there’s no cold snaps forecast, February and March are good times to prune your evergreen shrubs.

How to prune an evergreen shrub in three steps

Step one

When pruning an evergreen shrub, you should be aiming to remove about a third of the older wood.

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Start by removing any diseased, damaged or dead shoots.

Step two

Once you’ve removed any obviously damaged areas of the plant, you can get to work on tidying the rest of it.

Remove any awkward shoots that ruin the appearance of the plant, and look at areas where the roots are especially crowded, aiming to prune enough to slim down those sections.

Step three

After you’ve finished pruning your plant, it’s the perfect time to treat your plant with fresh mulching and a dose of fertiliser.

The evergreen shrubs you should think about pruning in the next few weeks are your early-flowering shrubs.

This category includes Berberis, Box, Camellia, Ceanothus, Choisya, Daphne, Hypericum, Laurel, Mahonia, Pieris, Azalea, Rhododendron and Viburnum tinus.

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