Gardening: Cuttings: April pruning

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The Independent Online
REMOVE any shoots that have died back in winter from outdoor abutilon. Large specimens of acacia (mimosa) can be cut back as soon as they have finished flowering if you want to reduce them in size. Otherwise, leave them alone. Arbutus, the strawberry tree, similarly needs no regular pruning, but straggly shoots can be cut back to the main stem now if necessary. Cut back varieties of Artemisia absinthium (which include 'Powis Castle' and 'Lambrook Silver') to within 6in of the ground. Aucuba (spotty laurel) can be hacked back to within 2-3ft of the ground. It will soon resprout. The grey- leaved shrub ballota should be cut back by half.

Camellias are best left to their own devices, but straggly shoots can be cut back flush with the main trunk if necessary. Deciduous ceanothus such as 'Gloire de Versailles' and 'Marie Simon' should be cut back hard. Shorten last year's growths to within 3in of the old wood. Evergreen varieties need no regular pruning, but where late summer-flowering types such as 'Autumnal Blue' are outgrowing their allotted space, you can shorten the lateral growths.

Over-vigorous forms of evergreen cotoneaster can also be cut back. Try to retain the characteristic outline of each shrub. Eccremocarpus, the Chilean glory flower, is a rampant but short-lived perennial climber. It is not reliably hardy, so frosted, dead growths should be cut out.

Forsythia should be pruned as soon as it has finished flowering. Take out some of the old branches at ground level each year on a three-year rotation. Forsythia hedges can be trimmed over when the flowers have finished. Do not trim again until next spring, or you will have no flowers.

Leggy specimens of hebe can be cut back hard to force new shoots to spring from the base. Generally, however, this shrub can be left alone. Overgrown bushes of rosemary can also be tackled, but not so harshly. Trim all the shoots back by half.

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