This month is the perfect time to get your secateurs and loppers out for some much-needed pruning. Any overgrown or misshapen deciduous trees and shrubs can be pruned to improve their shape and structure. Winter flowering shrubs such as Hamamelis (witch hazel) don’t need regular pruning, but once the flowers are over you can remove any crossing stems of those spoiling the shape of the plant. Late-flowering shrubs such as Buddleja davidii and Ceanothus Burkwoodii, hardy fuchsias and Lavatera can be pruned as they flower best on growth made from spring onwards.
You can also spend time now finishing winter pruning your fruit trees before they start coming into growth.
Wisteria can be cut back too to ensure it comes into full bloom in summer. For Wisteria, pruning should be carried out in July/August by cutting back all whippy growth to five or six buds. You can also train some of the longer leading shoots to form the framework. Now, in February, the previously pruned shoots should be cut back to two or three buds. If you didn’t carry out the summer pruning you can cut the shoots back to two or three buds and tie in any leading shoots to the support wires. Old or dead wood can be cut back to the main stem.
Overgrown hedges can be pruned now to improve their health and shape. Most deciduous hedges can be pruned back hard, as can broadleaved evergreens. If you have conifers, such as Leylandii, avoid cutting them back to the bare wood as they will struggle to recover – instead give them a lighter haircut.