Learn about pruning with expert advice from the RHS

Shrub pruning

Pruning late-summer and autumn flowering shrubs in spring will keep their growth in check and improve flowering.

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  • Tucking shoots under a wire. Image: RHS/Tim Sandall

    Grapes: pruning and training

    The main pruning season for grape vines is early winter, but they need regular pruning and maintenance throughout the growing season to keep them manageable and productive. The two main pruning systems are the Guyot system and the rod and spur (cordon) system.

  • A grape vine pruned according to the Guyot system. Image: RHS/Tim Sandall

    Grapes: the Guyot pruning system

    The Guyot pruning system is used for grape vines grown for wine and dessert grapes outdoors. This system trains one or two fruiting arms along a main wire. It is commonly used on commercial vineyards, but is easily adapted for the home gardener.

  • Grapes grown on a cordon system. Image: Simon Garbutt/RHS

    Grapes: the rod and spur pruning system

    The rod and spur pruning system is usually used for indoor grapes in greenhouses or conservatories, and for growing grapes against walls outdoors. It is also called the cordon system.

  • Ground cover plants

    Ground cover plants

    Perennials and shrubs that form an attractive carpet can be put to good use in the garden, especially when looking for low-maintenance options.

  • Hamamelis

    Hamamelis (witch hazel)

    Hamamelis is a winter-flowering shrub, commonly known as witch hazel. Its spicy fragrance and spidery flowers in yellow, orange and reds make it a must for the winter garden.

  • © RHS EDU0011807

    Hardy heathers

    A selection of heathers in your garden can offer bee-enticing blooms for all seasons of the year. They create evergreen ground cover, and offer great variation in foliage and flower colour and some are scented. For cold sites, containers and late season interest, they are hard to beat.

  • A high hedge. Credit: RHS/Advisory

    Hedges: nuisance and overgrown

    Tall hedges can be a nuisance, especially where neighbours can’t agree on a suitable height amicably. However, legislation now gives people whose gardens are overshadowed the opportunity to resolve the problem with the help of the local council.

  • Different hedges are best trimmed at different times of year. Credit: RHS/Advisory

    Hedges: pruning times

    Hedges require formative pruning on planting, plus maintenance trimming to keep them within bounds. Pruning times vary depending on the type of hedge.

  • Hedge Renovation. Credit: RHS/John Trenholm

    Hedges: renovation

    Hedges can quickly become overgrown, filling up a border and becoming difficult to maintain. Renovation may rejuvenate an old hedge. With legislation in place concerning the height of evergreen hedges, renovation may be advisable where hedges have got out of hand.

  • ©RHS PUB0019401

    Hedges: trimming

    Established hedges require trimming to keep them dense and compact. Formal hedges require more frequent trimming than informal hedges.

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