This week is the beginning of summer pruning time for fruit growers. I've also got some thoughts on pesky bindweed control, watering while you're away and deadheading rhododendrons and petunias.
- Summer pruning of intensively trained fruit trees, like apple and pears trained as cordons or espaliers, should be done in the next few weeks. Shorten main stems and laterals when longer than nine inches back to the third leaf and lateral side shoots pruned to leave the basal cluster.
- Fan trained plums, damsons, cherries, peach, nectarine and apricots should also be summer pruned by cutting back side shoots to encourage fruit bud production. Tie in good shoots to fill any gaps.
- Grape vines need to be regularly pruned to check vigour and to let the sun get at the developing fruit bunches. Prune to leave just two leaves above a fruit bunch and then do the same with subsequent side shoots.
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Weeds and Other Bits and Pieces
- It is worth investing in an automatic watering system if you are going away. Excellent drip systems are now available to regularly water pots, hanging baskets and greenhouses.
- If your plants have a pest or disease that you don’t recognise then post a clear picture under the Questions tab on the top menu and your problem may be solved. Many experts are waiting to help you out on this uber-friendly app!
- It’s time to tackle any bindweed that is strangling plants. If it is growing up and through plants, pull it aside and treat with Roundup Weedkiller Gel.
- Alternatively, shield your garden plants with some polythene and spray with a glyphosate-based weedkiller such as Roundup. This product is the most effective control agent available for bindweed, which is very deep-rooted and troublesome.
The Ornamental Garden
- Photinia Red Robin can get very big, and now that the new red shoots have faded to green, now's a good time to cut things back. You will then get a flush of new red shoots in a few weeks.
- Late flowering rhododendrons and azaleas can now have the dead blooms snapped off to improve the plant's shape.
- Remove dead flowers from bedding plants. Some, such as petunias, will stop producing new flowers when they are producing seeds.