Hints & Tips
Pruning is one of the jobs you should consider doing in August. Wisteria and restricted fruit trees will both benefit from some attention, with espaliers, cordons, pyramids and fans ready for pruning later in the month.
It isn't a particularly difficult process, but you should make sure you have the correct implements to hand to ensure pruning is as easy as possible
Your secateurs should be sharp, as blunt tools can damage plants, and it's a good idea to invest in a pruning saw to tackle larger branches.
If you're pruning a bush tree, remove dead, dying or diseased branches and then cut out any that are crossing over each other. Take out branches that are growing into the centre of the tree, as they can block out sunlight.
When you're happy with the height of your trees, cut back the leaders (the new growth at the tip of each branch) by about two-thirds.
However, if you want your trees to grow taller, you should leave the leaders and cut back lateral branches so that around six buds remain.
With shaped fruit trees, your technique should be focused on developing and maintaining the proportions of the plant.
You can develop the shape by pruning new sideshoots, or laterals, to three leaves beyond their basal cluster of leaves. Any shoots that grow from these pruned laterals should be cut back to one leaf.
In late August, the leaders' growth should be shortened to two buds once they reach the required height.
When pruning apple or pear espaliers and fans, treat each separate branch as a cordon. A cordon is the simplest form of fruit tree; essentially a stem with short fruiting spurs.
You should make the most of any nice weather you get if you're planning to be out and about in the garden – the forecast looks unsettled for the end of the weekend and the beginning of next week, with remnants of tropical storm Bertha possibly making their way to our shores.
I'm sure there was talk of a heatwave not so long ago…