Go pro in the garden: When should you call in the experts?
Trees, bushes and other plants grow rapidly in the spring, and it’s not long before your once neat and tidy garden is looking distinctly unkempt. But should you just pick up the pruning shears and hack away at that untidy growth yourself, or is it much wiser to call in an expert?
As well as making trees look tidier, and allowing more light into the garden, pruning encourages new growth, can increase the amount of fruit, and helps fight disease.
But while pruning trees yourself is, of course, the cheapest option, it may not always be safe – or even possible.
Simon Richmond, senior technical officer at The Arboricultural Association (trees.org.uk), which promotes tree care best practice and runs a register of approved arboriculturalists (tree surgeons), says: “There’s no reason why homeowners shouldn’t prune their own shrubs and small trees if they follow the detailed guidance available.
“There are, of course, safety risks even with small trees – working from stepladders causes many injuries and, combined with sharp tools, the risks increase. We would always recommend professional, approved contractors are used for work at height on larger trees, especially for work requiring chainsaws.”
Richmond explains that employing a professional tree surgeon to prune larger trees isn’t only to reduce the potential risk to the homeowner and their property, but to avoid damage from misinformed pruning, which can adversely affect trees for many years, possibly causing premature decline and death.
“Many people believe their trees need to be pruned,” he says, “but in fact, most trees don’t require pruning, and in some cases it’s detrimental or, at best, unsightly.”
He stresses that AA-approved contractors will provide “honest and technically-accurate advice to tree owners, often saving the cost of unnecessary work.”
However, before you or a tree surgeon start work, check whether your trees are in a conservation area or are protected by a Tree Preservation Order, to avoid being prosecuted.
Shrubs and climbers
Most shrubs benefit from regular pruning to tidy them up, remove old wood and encourage flowering.
You can usually prune a non-flowering shrub yourself during the summer, but flowering plants shouldn’t be extensively pruned until their dormant season, and if a shrub or climber flowers after midsummer, it’s best to wait until the following spring to prune.
Emma Allen, a garden manager at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Wisley, says: “It’s difficult to give general pruning advice, as there are so many shrubs and climbers, some follow the same rules and others have very specific requirements.
“A slower growing shrub or climber, such as Edgeworthia, will be easier to maintain and require less pruning than a vigorous one, like wisteria, which needs to be pruned differently twice a year. You can risk damaging new growth or prune the flowering stems, so if you don’t know what you’re pruning and can’t identify the plant yourself, call in an expert.
“If you do know the plant name, you can easily find out how to prune on the RHS website (rhs.org.uk).”
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- 7 common mistakes you might be making in the hot weather - July 22, 2019
- 5 tips for perking up your pond - July 22, 2019
- 7 fun and easy snacks to make with the grandchildren during the summer holidays - July 22, 2019
- Prince George beams in England football shirt in photos to mark birthday - July 21, 2019
- Prince George set to celebrate his sixth birthday - July 20, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!