Pruning & Feeding Your Garden with Protek

Pruning & Feeding Your Garden with Protek

Protek @ Garden World

Pruning & Feeding Your Garden

Pruning is a practice involving 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 otherwise unwanted plant material. Plants are also pruned to shape the plant by controlling or redirecting growth, improving or sustaining health and increasing the yield and quality of flowers and fruits. Pruning helps to balance the leaves and roots of your trees and shrubs as equilibrium is important to ensure that the roots of your plants can provide enough nutrition to the rest of the plant to bear fruit and flowers.    

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.  It is therefore essential to prune before new growth really starts in spring. 

If you prune roses and trees only lightly, they should bear more flowers and the heavier your hand the larger the flowers and fruits.

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.  This improves the absorption of light as well as the movement of air through the plant which helps to reduce diseases.

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 oblique cut just above a healthy growth point facing outwards. The cut should point away from the eye to 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 before you prune the next plant to avoid the spreading of fungi. A mixture of 5 ml Jeyes fluid per 1 l of water works well as a disinfectant for garden tools.

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 more practical than to seal 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.  Both offer preventative control and 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 get cutting! 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!

Gardening is good for your soul, enjoy every moment!

All Protek products now available in our store at Garden World!