Newsletter – July 2024 – Page 09 – Pruning and Feeding your Garden

Newsletter – July 2024 – Page 09 – Pruning and Feeding your Garden

Pruning & Feeding your Garden

Pruning is the targeted removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds or even roots to remove diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or unwanted plant material.

If done properly, pruning will improve the structure, health and productivity of the plant. It helps to balance the leaves and roots of trees and shrubs so that the roots can provide enough nutrition to the rest of the plant to bear fruit and flowers.   

Pruning requires understanding the specific needs of a plant and the desired outcomes.

Protek @ Garden World
Copper Flow Plus 100ml

Deciduous fruit trees and shrubs such as roses that bloom on new wood during the summer, should be pruned annually between July and mid-August.  In areas where late cold and severe frosts occur, it is better to prune at the end of winter as new growth can easily be damaged by frost.  Pruning before new growth starts in spring, is essential. 

The first task is the same for both roses and deciduous trees:

Remove all dead and diseased branches, as well as crossed branches up to the base of the plant. Both fruit trees and roses should always be pruned in the shape of “receiving hands” to ensure that the center of the plant is open to improve the absorption of light as well as the movement of air through the plant.

The second part of the pruning process is the cutting back of the healthy stems.

Rose shrubs – keep 3, 5 or 7 healthy young stems that grow from the base to give the plant a good shape and cut off all the other branches. Then cut back the shoots left on the plant by two-thirds. Make an slanted cut just above a healthy growth point facing outwards. The cut should prevent moisture from accumulating which can cause diseases at the growth point.

Fruit trees – The type of wood on which a fruit tree bears its fruit determines the length of the branches left on the tree. Apple and pear trees bear their fruit on old wood, therefore the branches can be pruned back until there are only 2 buds left on the branch.  Make sure you always cut off the branches above a bud that grows outwards. Peach, plum and apricot trees bear their fruit on new wood therefore their branches can be cut back close to the base of the young shoots.


When pruning, always use sharp pruning shears for a clean cut.  Avoid tearing and splitting of branches as this will increase the chance for fungal infections. It is important to disinfect your pruning shears with Jeyes Fluid (5 ml Jeyes Fluid mixed with 1 liter of water), before pruning the next plant to avoid the spreading of fungi.

Protek Sprayfilm 10 can be used to seal cuts on your plants which will prevent the plants from being infected with fungi or bacteria. It is more practical than sealing every individual cutting wound, especially if you have a large garden with many plants to prune. Mix Sprayfilm 10 with a systemic fungicide like Tenazole, or a contact fungicide like Mycoguard or Copper-Flow-Plus.  Mycoguard, Copper-Flow-Plus and Tenazole offer preventative control but Tenazole offers additional corrective control.  Sprayfilm 10 forms a protective layer over the wounds and the fungicide prevents the germination and spread of fungal infections on the wounds.

It is important to feed plants with a balanced fertiliser such as Protek General Fertiliser 2:3:2, or for an organic option, NutriGreen Gwano Pellets.  Both these fertilisers are rich in Phosphate which stimulate root and new growth after winter – and especially after pruning. It is important to remember that plants, like humans, need regular nutrition, so if you want to ensure that your roses and fruit trees bear a lot of flowers and healthy fruit, it is advisable to start feeding your plants 4 weeks after pruning with a fertilizer high in Potassium to stimulate flower and fruit formation.  Apply Rose & Flower Fertiliser 8:1:5, or for an organic option, NutriGreen Flower Power.

Anytime between now and the end of August is time to prune your rose and fruit trees! Keep an eye on your local weather and start pruning! And, remember to feed your roses and fruit trees during the entire flowering and fruiting season as prescribed. Producing all those beautiful flowers and mouth-watering fruit takes alot of energy!

General 2-3-2(14) Group
Rose & Flower Fertilizer 2kg
Tenazole Systemic Fungicide 100ml