Pruning A to Z
A New Zealand guide
Reviewed by Mike Gowing
TO the uninitiated, pruning
is "the dark art" of gardening and, besides plucking up the courage,
the novice needs all the practical help they can get. Jon Muller
describes a foray into pruning in his introduction. "After looking
at the pile of prunings at your feet you may well have asked 'Have
I done the right thing?'" What he doesn't say is that the answer
is probably, "No".
As Muller points out,
pruning is just one part of the picture when caring for plants.
"Too often remedial pruning or removal is the result of a plant
being in the wrong place to start with."
The book tackles 220
common plants - from abelia to wisteria - giving a brief, illustrated
description of their habit and their pruning requirements. The introductory
chapters cover the principles of pruning, techniques for trees and
shrubs, plant care and the tools required (including some wise,
cautionary words on the use of the chainsaw as a pruning tool).
At the back there's a useful species-by-species table with the key
to how heavily each should be pruned, the opportune time and some
This manual will help
you see the wood from the trees the next time you pick up your secateurs.
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH