7 plants to prune in January – shrubs and fruit bushes to snip this month


Raspberries come in summer types and late types, with the latter also known as fall-fruiting raspberries. The two types flower on different wood, provide a harvest at different times, and are pruned in distinctive ways. Make sure you know what raspberries you have growing, as not cutting correctly will be a mistake that will deprive you of a year of delicious raspberries.


Redcurrant bushes are really heavy-cropping and can be hugely productive by being pruned annually. It is best to prune redcurrant bushes when the plant is dormant, this can be done from winter through to early spring.


Gooseberries are another soft fruit bush that you may have in a kitchen garden, along with currants, that can be pruned in January while they are dormant. The way to prune gooseberries is to remove a third of the oldest and least-productive stems as you try to create an open and goblet-shaped bush with around 9-12 strong shoots and a good mix of one, two, and three-year-old wood. The side shoots on the remaining stems are removed to two or three buds.


Rhododendrons are usually very low maintenance woodland plants and there are in fact over a thousand species under the rhododendron genus - coming in a huge range of colors. They usually do not need lots of pruning, but sometimes an old rhododendron will require heavy pruning in order to reduce their size.


Spirea are perennial deciduous plants that can make fantastic landscaping shrubs thanks to the profuse level of flowers they produce in spring or summer. The shrubs benefit from a prune to prevent them getting too tangled and congested. Summer-blooming spirea can be pruned in winter, while they are dormant, to encourage the growth of new wood that they bloom on. Older spirea benefit from a prune in winter to control the shape and keep them compact.


Cotoneaster are easy-to-maintain shrubs with winter berries that come in a real range of sizes and shapes, ranging from large shrubs to low and creeping ground cover plants.


If you are growing bougainvillaea, then pruning is always recommended as otherwise these vigorous climbing plants can become an unruly mess and look somewhat wild. Any large-scale pruning of bougainvillaea should take place from January through to early spring, when the plant is in a semi-dormant state. As it produces its colorful flower bracts on new growth, winter is the time to prune away old growth so it can produce a flush of new stems in order to put on a colorful display.

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