What do I need to prune in Spring?

Spring is an exciting time for gardeners as it marks the beginning of a new growing season. As the winter frost melts away and the sun begins to shine, it’s time to get your pruning shears out and start trimming back your plants. Spring pruning is an essential part of garden design, as it helps shape and maintain the health of your plants. This can seem a bit intimidating at first, but most of it is simple and you largely cannot go very wrong! Here are a few tips to help you get started.

spring garden inspiration with wild garlic and bluebells

Benefits of Spring Pruning:

  1. Promotes plant health: Pruning helps to remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood, which can weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases. By removing these parts, you promote healthy new growth.
  2. Controls plant size and shape: Pruning allows you to control the size and shape of your plants, helping to prevent them from becoming overgrown or unsightly. By shaping your plants, you can create a more aesthetically pleasing garden design.
  3. Stimulates new growth: Pruning encourages new growth, which can make your plants more bushy and full. This can also increase flower or fruit production, leading to a more bountiful harvest.

General tips for Spring Pruning:

  1. Know your plants: Different plants have different pruning needs, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Research the specific needs of your plants to ensure that you prune them at the right time and in the right way.
  2. Use the right tools: Invest in a good pair of pruning shears or loppers to make the job easier. Make sure they are sharp and clean to prevent damaging the plant.
  3. Don’t over-prune: It’s important not to over-prune, as this can weaken the plant and reduce its ability to produce flowers or fruit. Only remove the necessary branches and stems to achieve your desired shape.
  4. Prune at the right time: Spring is an ideal time for pruning as it allows you to remove any damage caused by winter weather. However, some plants may require pruning at other times of the year, so be sure to research the specific needs of your plants.
spring garden inspiration mown path through meadow

Whilst it is valuable to look up each plant and to make sure you are doing the right thing, as a rule you can’t go wrong with removing old, dead and broken branches, and the plant will always benefit from a tidy up.


Be a bit more careful with climbers as these tend to need a more considered approach to ensure they continue to flower as well as grow in the shapes you want.

Spring is in general a great time to start pruning climbers. Climbing plants such as roses, clematis, and wisteria can grow rapidly during the warmer months, and pruning them in spring can help to promote healthy growth and encourage more flowers.

Before you start pruning your climbers, it’s important to understand the different types of growth they produce. Climbers can be classified into two main categories: those that flower on new growth and those that flower on old growth. Examples of climbers that flower on new growth include roses and clematis, while wisteria and honeysuckle flower on old growth.

Pruning climbers that flower on new growth should be done in early spring, before new growth begins. Start by removing any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. Next, cut back the remaining branches to a pair of healthy buds, leaving about one-third to one-half of the previous year’s growth. This will help to promote new growth and encourage the plant to produce more flowers.

For climbers that flower on old growth, such as wisteria, pruning should be done in late winter or early spring, before new growth appears. Start by removing any dead or damaged branches, as well as any suckers that are growing from the base of the plant. Next, prune back the previous year’s growth to two or three buds, leaving the older branches untouched. This will help to promote more flowers on the older branches.

spring garden inspiration mown path through meadow

Spring pruning is an essential part of garden design that can promote plant health, control plant size and shape, and stimulate new growth. By knowing your plants, using the right tools, not over-pruning, and pruning at the right time, you can achieve a healthy and beautiful garden. So, grab your pruning shears and get to work – your garden will thank you for it!

Do send us any images of your pruning efforts, and if you need any help to asses which plants need what sort of pruning or would like our lovely maintenance team to come and sort it out for you do get in touch!

Cool Gardens are an award winning team of Garden Designers, Landscapers and Garden Maintenance Operatives working in Buckinghamshire. We are currently working locally, and welcome enquires for design, landscaping or garden maintenance. Contact us here