Pruning your plants: A complete guide to getting it right the first time

There is no task in the garden that strikes as much fear as pruning. Whether you're a beginner gardener or someone who has been on the job for many years, something about the precision required when the pruners come out can strike fear in the hearts of many. 

When done correctly, pruning can promote regrowth and revitalisation. But, when done incorrectly, it can cause unrepairable damage to plants, some of which can cause them to wither away. 

But I'm not here to grow that fear. While the task at hand does seem difficult, pruning can be easily learned and is one of the best skills you can acquire as a gardener. 

Though every plant, bush and shrub requires special considerations, here are some key tips that can be used across all pruning jobs. 

Use the right tools 

While pruning shears and secateurs can get most jobs done quickly and efficiently, it is important to consider the types of bushes you are cutting. As to not damage your tools and hurt yourself, using a pruning saw or loppers where necessary can ensure you get the right cut, especially when you need to take off a big chunk of a bush. 

Remember, regardless of what tools you are using, one of the most important things you can do is keep them clean! Substances such as sap and dirt can cause them to rust and become brittle, meaning they won't perform as they should. 


Cut above new growth

To ensure that your plants keep thriving, it's important you cut above the new growth. Regardless of if you are pruning roses or a berry bush, taking careful notice of where buds or new stems are forming can certify that your plants continue to grow. When cutting, be sure to leave about 2cm above the new growth as to not cause any accidental damage. 


Cut at an angle 

No matter what gardening tools you are using, you must cut at an angle. Aiming for an angle of 45 degrees can reduce tissue rot after your plant is pruned, allowing you to preserve its natural beauty and integrity. 

Focus on the roots 

Like all plants, bushes and shrubs love light. But, due to their growth patterns, many can conceal the soil and cast large shadows over their centres. Pruning these plants so light can shine through is a fantastic way to promote richer regrowth. In the case of fruit bushes, this can stimulate greater produce for you and your family to enjoy. 


At Recipe For Serenity, I am all about providing the tools and resources you need to help your garden feel its best. When you aren't sure about plant care, I am more than happy to have a chat and help you find the right tools. If you're ever in need of gardening support, you can always contact me