7 ‘dangerous’ pruning mistakes that cause ‘weak’ plant growth and ‘no flowers’

To have a stunning-looking garden requires the right amount of work and care.

For gardeners who want their plants to thrive, pruning tends to be essential to keep them looking their best.

While it’s important to take good care of plants with consistent trimming, there are quite a few common mistakes made with this common gardening task.

Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal told Express.co.uk: “While my main business is connecting homeowners with local lawn care professionals, I’ve spent years in the landscaping industry and have seen my fair share of pruning mistakes. 

“There are some common errors that gardeners need to avoid. Avoiding these mistakes isn’t just about keeping your plants looking good; it’s about keeping them healthy and thriving.”

READ MORE: ‘Best fix’ for hydrangeas that produce ‘no blooms’ – will ‘guarantee flowers’

1. Pruning at the wrong time of year 

Gardeners need to be aware that each plant has its own “optimal pruning season”, and doing it at the “wrong time” can “stress the plant”.

To avoid this, research each species of plant in the garden and understand when it’s best to prune them. 

2. Using dull or dirty tools 

This might sound simple, but most people don’t know this. Using dull or dirty tools can “damage the plant tissue”, leading to “diseases”. 

Bryan insisted that gardeners “always” clean and sharpen their tools before pruning each time.

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3. Over-pruning 

The expert claimed that over-pruning is the most “dangerous” of all the pruning mistakes.

Bryan explained: “Over-pruning can starve a plant, removing too many leaves that are needed for photosynthesis. 

“It’s a never-ending battle to find the right balance, but generally, you shouldn’t remove more than 20 percent of a plant at once.”

4. Making incorrect cuts 

When pruning, it is important to make sure to cut at the right angle and in the “right place”.

The expert said that incorrect cuts can lead to “water sprouts”, which are “weak, unattractive growth” that “will not produce flowers or fruit”.

5. Ignoring natural shape 

Some gardeners prune without considering the natural shape of the plant. Bryan noted that the “secret” is to work with the plant’s natural form rather than against it, which “ensures healthier growth”.

6. Disregarding the three D’s

Dead, diseased, and damaged branches “should always be the first to go”. Bryan said: “It’s common sense, but you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked.

7. Lack of planning 

It’s important to have a clear vision of what gardeners want the plant to look like and “prune with that goal in mind”.

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