Tips For Choosing The Best Pruning Tools

Aside from water and sunlight, plants and shrubs also need to be regularly pruned. Pruning is a garden maintenance task that involves the removal of certain parts of a plant such as the branches and the leaves. This is done to remove deadwood, promote growth, and maintain their shapes.

Choosing the right pruning tools is important in determining how well you can do the job and how long it will take you to do it. There are a lot of tools available in the market today; they vary in design, shape, and size. So, how do you know you are choosing the right one?

Bypass Pruner

What features to look for in a pruner:

  • A high-quality blade
  • An ergonomic or comfortable design
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean and assemble

Things to consider when choosing pruning shears:

  1. The type of pruning shear

Pruning shears come in two basic types: bypass pruners and anvil pruners. Bypass pruners have two curved blades that move past each other. One of the blades is sharp and the other one is thicker and less sharp. This type of pruner is known to give the cleanest cut.

Anvil Pruner

On the other hand, anvil pruners have one straight blade. The blade cuts and closes onto a flat edge, the anvil. This type of pruner is recommended for cutting dead wood because the blade often crushes stems when cutting.

  1. The design of the shear

Ergonomic pruners are designed to reduce wrist strain and hand fatigue. They are often curved in shape and have soft-grip handles and angled blades. These ergonomically designed shears are ideal if you have a lot of plants and shrubs to prune.

  1. The size and weight of the shear

Ergonomic Pruner

Choose a size and weight that will be easy for you to hold and use. Small pruners may only be able to cut smaller branches. Heavier pruners may cause more fatigue when used for a long time. Considering the types of plants you have and how much time you spend pruning will help you decide.

  1. Easy to disassemble and put back

There are pruners that can be disassembled and there are those that cannot be taken apart. Pruners that can be disassembled are easier to clean and sharpen. This is important because dirt and sap build up on the blades and between the handles as you start to make use of your pruners. Therefore, regular cleaning is vital to ensure that your pruners last a long time.

When To Prune Hedges And How Often

Rows of thickly planted hedges are a spectacular way to define your border and boundary, and to keep pets and children out or in.hedge curb

Just like every shrub, hedges need frequent and regular watering, pruning and feeding to look really great. People usually forget to water the root during hot weather, or apply fertilizer very early in spring at the 10-10-10 formula.  It is critical for the hedge’s long term health that it is regularly and properly pruned.

Here are some tips to fix common mistakes when pruning:

Shearing hedges without using a hand prune: Using a shear whether it is a power trimmer or a hand held pruner with a long scissor-like blade to get rid of branches tips makes you hedges tidy and very neat, this also enhances the production of bud near the plants edges. Furthermore, as the buds multiply, the shrub might get so thick that sunlight will be unable to penetrate which will prevent interior growth. This gives rise to a hedge that grows larger and larger every year and is lifeless on the inside. Proper pruning allows sunlight penetration and in turn enable you cut through shrubs so that they won’t get so big.

Pruning at the wrong time: hedges should be pruned basically in late winter, when plant produces buds but are dormant, especially if you want to cut back drastically. It is not so good to allow them break bud before pruning because plants should have enough energy to product new growth where you want them. Usually, energy spent energy are being cut off when you remove or cut off a plant bud and it basically takes some time for the hedges to fill back out.

Not shaping hedges such that the top is narrower than the bottom: Most hedges will begin to widen at the top simple because they receive more sunlight there than every other hedge_trimming_diagplaces. This usually give rise to a kind of V shaped hedge which shades lower branches from sunlight which makes them produce less foliage. You should try turning that V upside down because a sheared hedge should be narrow at the top and wider at the bottom always, regardless of whether the top is pointed, flat or round. It is advisable to start to shear from the bottom all the way to the top, for an accurate cutting.

If you find pruning hedges intimidating (like most people), call Jim’s Mowing on 0800 454 654 or book online.

 

What Are the Best Lilly Pilly Varieties?

Royal Flame

Syzgium Luehmanni or Royal Flame

Lilly pillies are some of the most popular plants in Australia. People enjoy their lovely changing colour and how they grow voluminously well, making them perfect for hedging and topiaries. Lilly pillies yield fluffy white or greenish flowers in the spring and red, purple or whitish berries. You definitely will get a visually pleasing, colourful garden or lawn if you opt to plant the lilly pilly as hedging.

There are so many varieties of lilly pillies in Australia that there’s even a lot of confusion over their names. But if you’re looking through the best lilly pilly varieties to determine which is the best to plant in your property, the list below provides the best choices as they are the least prone or most resistant to the lilly pilly psyllid (native insect related to cicadas) that causes ugly pimples on the leaves of the plant.

  • For the big variety (those that grow five metres and over), the top 2 picks are the Acmena smithii var. and minor Syzgium luehmannii. These two are easy to maintain, as they are completely resistant to psyllids.
  • For the mid-sized variety (those that grow three to five metres in height), the best lilly pilly variety is the Acmena smithii or Hot Flush. It’s the only one among the popular mid-sized varieties that’s resistant to psyllids.
  • For the little variety (those that grow two metres and below), the Syzgium luehmanni or Royal Flame is the best performer and is also completely resistant to psyllids.

    Syzgium luehmannii

    Syzgium Luehmanni in Bloom

  • For the tiny or 1 metre lilly pillies, Acmena smithii or Hedgemaster is the perfect choice.

Acmena smithii

Acmena Smithii

But if you’re not too concerned about the effect of psyllids on your lilly pilly, the Syzgium austral or Bush Christmas, S. austral or Elite, and S. austral or Aussie Southern are great beauties definitely worth considering. All of these grow really well but you really will just need proper care for these varieties. Your best bet would be to turn to professional service providers for tips on how to prevent the attack of psyllids and other problems that lilly pillies encounter, such as scale (soot-like stains) which is often caused by ants and pollution.

It’s worth mentioning as well that lilly pillies are more suitable for warmer climates. Therefore, if you live somewhere that’s chilly and often gets frost, seek the advice of lawn care professionals on the best way to plant lilly pillies and ways to care for them given the challenging climate conditions.

Call Jim’s Mowing on %%PHONE_NUMBER%% for all of your gardening needs or simply book online for a free no-obligation quote!

Important Tips on Pruning Plants

To keep your plants in shape, regular pruning is required whether your plants are grown inside or outside. Be careful though, over-pruning can be hazardous so it’s extremely important to know which plants to prune, when to prune and how. It is best to prune fruiting and flowering plants whilst they are not in bloom, however other plants such as shrubs and trees which blossom in the spring time, require the old buds to be pruned in order to blossom new ones. Some plants need pruning all year round, so it can be a little perplexing at first, just keep in mind that the worst case scenario is that your plant or plants may generate a reduced amount of fruits and flowers.

Pruning Tools

pruning toolsPruning can feel like a daunting task if you are a beginner gardener. To make the process easier, make sure that you possess the correct equipment. Here is a list of basic tools that will aid any gardener make their garden look its best.

  • Loppers – long handles with short sturdy blades – used for pruning thick branches that are hard to reach
  • Saw – needed for thick branches (6 inches+)
  • Shears – appear to be heavy duty scissors – useful for trimming branches and leaves that are not so thick
  • Hand Pruners – short thick blades – helpful for cutting thinner branches and stems (up to 1 inch)

It is more practical to have all these basic tools on hand prior to commencing pruning and the better the quality the better the job they will do and the longer they will last. It is imperative to ensure all tools are cleaned properly after each use as some soil can be full of plant diseases and you really don’t want to transfer them onto other plants.

Flowering Trees, Shrubs and Vines

These three very different plant categories need pruning at all different times throughout the year.

 Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Flowering trees and shrubs normally blossom should be pruned mid-autumn as they bloom in spring. They can be pruned earlier if they have grown predominantly large but beware, you do not want to lose too many blooms in the process.

Clematis

Clematis blooms on its own timetable, but generally it is best to prune them back after they have completed blossoming. This will ensure that they have room to continue growing for the next bloom. To guarantee a long life, vines need appropriate pruning, so it’s vital to pay close attention to the state of the Clematis.

Roses   

Roses are one of the easiest to grow and prune. The type of rose plant and the climate are two major factors here, but it is mainly completed in the spring.

Hydrangeas

Closely monitoring the hydrangeas is the best way to determine whether they need pruning or not.  They can be a quite intricate to prune and need trimming all throughout the year, depending on the local climate.

 Perennial Bedded Plants

Perennial Bedded Plants are high maintenance and require pruning either prior to or following the growing period but also need regular attention. This one can be quite tricky as it depends on the individual plant and local climate and something that can only be learnt through trial and error.

Pruning Perennials in the Spring

Not all plants grow well if pruned before winter; the extra protection helps them survive the cold. Determining the best time to prune certain plants can only be done by monitoring them and taking note of how they react. Some plants that need to be pruned in spring are; Lavender, Wall Cress, Blue-beard and Rock Cress.

Pruning Perennials in Winter

Most plants don’t deal with harsh weather well but there are some perennials that prosper from being pruned in winter, for example, Daylilies and Columbine. This gives them the opportunity to be pared down so that they are not spoiled by the cold. The universal rule is to prune the plants when the temperature starts to plummet or whose leaves have started to perish.

 Evergreens

There are two different sorts of Evergreens.

Broad-Leaf Evergreens

Evergreens such as mahonia, different types of magnolias and holly, don’t need a great deal of pruning, but when you do prune them it’s best to do in early spring.

Needle-Leaf Evergreens

Needle-leaf evergreens like spruce, juniper, cypress and fir are best pruned early on in the growing period but pruning some branches in the winter will not cause any damage.

And if it seems all a bit too much, remember we are only a call a way.  Our fully trained staff can help – just call Jim’s on 0800 454 654 or book online for all your garden pruning needs!

A Guide to Pruning

A Guide To Pruning New Zealand Native Plants

Pruned roses

Native New Zealand plants are delightful to have in your garden nevertheless they are not maintenance free. While the majority of New Zealand plants need less care than many exotic plants, they do profit greatly from some fertilizing, pruning and watering. Pruning promotes a healthy growth, extends the life of short lived plants and enhances a grander display of flowers.

Types of Pruning

Tip Pruning

To promote lateral growth and therefore bushier plants, regular tip pruning of the soft new growth is favoured over infrequent hard pruning and should be initiated when plants are very young, desirably at seedling or rooted cutting stage. Tip pruning is best commenced after flowering and during the growing season for faster outcomes. Pruning too late in the season bares the risk of decreasing the next season’s flowers.  Constantly carry secateurs when you’re out and about in the garden as this allows you to effortlessly practice tip pruning.

Universal Pruning

When pruning to regulate unwanted growth, it is better to only make clean cuts that slope away from buds. Cut close and parallel to existing branches and leaf nodes, but not level with them.

With large branches, first cut the bark below, then make the top cut, this prevents tearing of the bark as the branch falls away.

Use the plant’s natural habit as a guide. If it is slow-growing, compact and well-shaped, then only light pruning is required to tidy it

up. If it is fast growing, then further pinching-out or pruning should be carried out. Prune the whole shrub all at once, that way even growth will ensue all over the plant.

It is best not to prune in winter as the resulting new growth can easily be damaged by cold temperatures. When cutting into plants that flower on old wood such as many Leptospermums, Melaleucas and Hakeas, be conscious that you may lose next year’s flowers.

Pruning Screen and Hedge Plants

pruning

Successful screen and hedge plants need to be given consistent but relatively delicate pruning all over to encourage and preserve dense growth. If you are using this type of pruning for Lilly pillies such as:  Syzygium smithii and various forms, it will keep them bushy to the ground.

Pruning to Mend Damage

When branches are broken or attacked by insects and/or borers, the branch should be pruned back to clean unspoiled wood and close to a limb or leaf node. If left in a damaged state, branches are prone to infection and dying back.

Pruning to Improve Blossoming

Elimination of old flowers should be commenced after the flower is finished. This way the plant does not put its vitality into producing seed. It also has the same effect as tip pruning as it enhances new lateral growth and hence more flowers next season. Callistemons, and fine-leaved Melaleucas definitely benefit from having the top two thirds of their flowers detached and is an essential pruning action.

Pruning to Decrease New Growth

Pruning flush with the trunk should result in no new leaf growth.  This is ideal if you are pruning lower branches off a shrub to make it more tree like.

Pruning When Direr Outcomes Are Needed

Trying to keep bulky plants to a convenient size by pruning is hard work and is best done frequently through-out the year. Be aware that hard pruning into old wood may possibly kill some plants. If you have any old woody shrubs that are more of a monstrosity than an asset in the garden, arm yourself with secateurs and a pruning saw and practice on it.

The simplest way to invigorate Callistemons, fine leaved Melaleucas and Leptospermums is to lop them off at ground level. If carried out in spring they will rapidly put out new shoots and grow into bushy shrubs with striking healthy foliage. Water well to maximise new growth. Radical pruning of older more senile Grevillea

s is not always successful. If the plant has gotten to the point where you have nothing to lose, prune hard and see what happens.

When pruning large weighty branches, make the initial cut about 150 mm further out than where you need to make the final cut. When the heavy branch has been removed, make an additional cut to clean up, this minimises tearing of the bark. Note that untidy cuts or torn bark can create entry points of fungal diseases and other such hazardous elements.

Maintaining Your Pruning Tools

Be sure to use sharp tools and disinfect them by scrubbing with methylated spirits. Blunted tools leave ragged edges on the branch and are an invitation for disease to attack your plants.

Don’t have the required tools or enough time? You can always take the hassle out of pruning and give Jim’s Mowing a call on 0800 454 654 or book online for a free, no obligation quote!

Tips for Beautiful Roses

Climber Rose varieties

Climbing Rose varieties

The reward for gaining and applying the relevant knowledge about rose gardening is big, beautiful rose bushes, laden with colourful and fragrant roses. Here we will help you learn all about pruning roses, preparing rose beds, types of roses and the best way to look after them.

The types of rose bushes you can choose from are; Shrub Roses, Miniature Roses, Climber, Grandiflora, Floribunda and Rugosa. Be aware that some of these are quite hardy while others can be sensitive, so be sure to choose wisely and buy ones that are suited to your garden and lifestyle.

Caring for Your Roses

Caring for rose bushes is vital to their general health and vigour, as well as their appearance, below are some helpful guides.

Planting

Plant roses where they will collect a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of full sun per day. Roses grown in weak sun may not die at once, but they weaken progressively. Give them plenty of organic matter when planting and don’t crowd them.

Wear sturdy gloves to shield your hands from prickly thorns and have a hose or bucket of water and all your planting utensils nearby. Keep your bare-root rose in water until you are ready to place it in the ground.

Minature Rose varieties

Minature Rose varieties

Roses can be cut back and moved in either spring or winter, definitely not in summer, as they may suffer and die in the high temperature. Large rose canes can be cut back by as much as two thirds, and smaller ones to within 6 to 12 inches of the ground.

When you relocate your roses, be sure to dig a much bigger hole than you think you need (for most types, the planting hole should be about 15 to 18 inches wide) and add plenty of organic matter such as compost or aged manure.

Watering

Roses require at least an inch of water weekly throughout their growing season, beginning in spring or following spring planting. Rose bushes are very prone to fungal diseases, such as black spot and powdery mildew, especially when their foliage is kept too wet.

Attentively water your roses, ensure that you soak the entire root zone at least twice a week in dry weather. Elude frequent shallow sprinklings, which won’t reach the deeper roots and may encourage fungus. Roses do best with 90 inches of rain per year, so unless you live in a rain forest, water regularly, although If adequate drainage is not provided, they can easily drown. The ideal soil is rich and loose, with good drainage. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to not provide adequate drainage.

Use mulch to help save water, decrease stress, and encourage healthy growth, apply a 2 to 4 inch layer of chopped and shredded leaves, grass clippings, or shredded bark around the base of your roses. Allow about an inch of space between the mulch and the base stem of the plant.

Florabunda Roses

Florabunda Roses “French Lace Rose”

Feeding

Feed roses on a regular basis before and throughout the blooming cycle (avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides if you’re harvesting for the kitchen), a slow releasing fertilizer is best or apply a balanced granular fertilizer (5-10-5 or 5-10-10) minimum of once a month during the hotter months. Allow ¾ to 1 cup for each bush, and sprinkle it around the drip line, not against the stem. Also apply an additional tablespoon of Epsom salts along with your fertilizer; the magnesium sulphate will encourage new growth from the bottom of the bush.

Pruning

Prune roses every spring and terminate all old or diseased plant material. Start with pruning shears for smaller growth. Use loppers, (the bigger, long-handle shears) for growth that is more than half an inch thick. A small pruning saw is handy, as it cuts on both the push and the pull.

Deadhead religiously and keep beds clean. Every leaf has a growth bud, so removing old flower blossoms encourages the plant to make more flowers instead of using the energy to make seeds. Clean away from around the base of the rosebushes as any trimmed debris that can harbor disease and insects. Stop deadheading all your rose plants 3 to 4 weeks before winter so

Grandiflora Roses

Grandiflora Roses

as not to encourage new growth at a time when new shoots may be damaged by the cold.

Preparing Your Roses for Winter

Do not prune roses in the winter, simply cut off any dead or diseased canes. Stop fertilizing 6 weeks prior to winter but continue watering during dry weather to help keep plants fortified. Mulch or add compost before the weather turns too cold. Compost, mulch, dry wood chips or chopped leaves are all good for insulating your rose beds.

Pests and Diseases

Good gardening practices such as removing dead leaves and canes will help reduce pests. Find out which pests are most prevalent in your area by checking with your local nursery. Here are some of the more common problems:

  • Stem Borers
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Aphids
  • Black Spot/Powdery Mildew
  • Spider Mites

Roses are a delectable treat for pests so try planting lavender near your roses. Not only will you have the makings of a nice potpourri, but the scent of lavender discourages most pests.

Rugosa Roses

Rugosa Roses

Fun Fact

Rugosa roses are overloaded with vitamins and used for jams, jellies, syrups, pies, teas, and wine. The petals can be tossed into salads for colour, utilized to decorate cakes, or distilled to make rose water.

For expert assistance with pruning your precious roses, or any other gardening maintenance, please contact Jim’s Mowing on 0800 454 654 or book online today!

Shrub Roses

Shrub Rose Display

Tips on Pruning Plants

Important Tips on Pruning Plants

To keep your plants in shape, regular pruning is required whether your plants are grown inside or outside. Be careful though, over-pruning can be hazardous so it’s extremely important to know which plants to prune, when to prune and how. It is best to prune fruiting and flowering plants whilst they are not in bloom, however other plants such as shrubs and trees which blossom in the spring time, require the old buds to be pruned in order to blossom new ones. Some plants need pruning all year round, so it can be a little perplexing at first, just keep in mind that the worst case scenario is that your plant or plants may generate a reduced amount of fruits and flowers.

pruning-tools-1

 

Pruning Tools

Pruning can feel like a daunting task if you are a beginner gardener. To make the process easier, make sure that you possess the correct equipment. Here is a list of basic tools that will aid any gardener make their garden look its best.

  • Loppers – long handles with short sturdy blades – used for pruning thick branches that are hard to reach
  • Saw – needed for thick branches (15 cm +)
  • Shears – appear to be heavy duty scissors – useful for trimming branches and leaves that are not so thick
  • Hand Pruners – short thick blades – helpful for cutting thinner branches and stems (up to 3cm)

It is more practical to have all these basic tools on hand prior to commencing pruning and the better the quality the better the job they will do and the longer they will last. It is imperative to ensure all tools are cleaned properly after each use as some soil can be full of plant diseases and you really don’t want to transfer them onto other plants.

Flowering Trees, Shrubs and Vines

These three very different plant categories need pruning at all different times throughout the year.

 Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Flowering trees and shrubs normally blossom should be pruned mid-autumn as they bloom in spring. They can be pruned earlier if they have grown predominantly large but beware, you do not want to lose too many blooms in the process.

clematis

Clematis

Clematis

Clematis blooms on its own timetable, but generally it is best to prune them back after they have completed blossoming. This will ensure that they have room to continue growing for the next bloom. To guarantee a long life, vines need appropriate pruning, so it’s vital to pay close attention to the state of the Clematis.

Need help?

If you have need help pruning your garden, contact Jim’s Mowing on 0800 454 654 or Book a Pruning Job Online.