Prune these plants now to enjoy your summer garden for longer – ‘continual’ autumn flower

Prune these plants now to enjoy your summer garden for longer – ‘continual’ autumn flower


Monty Don shares tips for pruning fruit trees

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August may be the last month in summer but it doesn’t have to be the end of the growing season too. There are plenty of plants which will continue to thrive into autumn with the right care, and some simple pruning is really all you have to do to prolong your favourite fruits and flowers. Here’s what to prune in your garden right now to encourage fresh growth in late summer.


Growing your own herbs is one of the easiest and most rewarding things to do in the garden, but many of them will be on their way out as summer draws to a close.

To keep the fresh green leaves growing right through the season, grab a clean pair of scissors and get cutting.

According to Dobbie’s resident gardening expert, Marcus Eyles, mint, chives and parsley are the most ‘“tired” herbs to focus on in August.

By cutting back wilted and drooping leaves, you will have a continued supply of fresh leaves for your late-summer dining.

Perennial herbs such as oregano and thyme also need to be trimmed back around this time make sure they can withstand the cold winter frosts.

Fruit trees

The warm weather has forced an early harvest for many fruits this year, which means many will finish earlier than usual.

To keep on top of your favourite shrubs and trees, focus on the branches.

Trained plants should be pruned in August to help them regain strength for more fruit.

Take the time to prop up any branches that have borne a heavy crop of fruit so that they have the best chance of bearing even more.

Raspberry canes that have fruited should also be cut back to the ground, and blackcurrants should be pruned by one third.

Tomato plants

Harvest season is well-underway for tomato plants, but it can be extended for even longer by doing one simple thing.

While more intense pruning is required for fruit trees, tomatoes will benefit from just one layer of leaves being removed from the bottom of the plant.

Doing this gives the remaining leaves more space and access to sunlight, so are more likely to stay drier and free from soil containing pathogens.

The general idea of this type of pruning is to prevent disease, which will not only make your tomato plant unproductive, but could kill it off entirely.

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Summer flowers

Petunias, dahlias and roses are summer staples for flower-loving gardeners, but they can be short-lived when old growth is left on the plant.

Deadheading ensures that the flowers stay healthy and strong right through their prime season, and can even prolong your garden display.

Use secateurs to remove tough, stringy stems and switch to a sharp knife for the flower heads.

Marcus said: “’Dead head regularly to extend the flowering season well into autumn, particularly dahlias, roses and cottage garden perennials.”

Early flowering shrubs should be cut back at the branches to secure next year’s growth.

Roses are particularly important to focus on in August, though you need to do a little more than deadhead the flowers.

According to Marcus, it is also a crucial time to train rambling roses in order to secure new growth.

He said: “Tie in whippy growths on rambling roses to bear next year’s trusses of flower, positioning each stem as near to horizontal as possible.

“Training new growth in this way helps to encourage a prolific flower display along their length.”

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