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Plant Pruning A to Z
A New Zealand guide

Jon Muller
David Bateman
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 general comments.

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

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Last updated: March 1, 2021