Pruning by Darren Rudge

On August 6th 2019 Darren Rudge came to talk to us about the importance of correct pruning.  Darren is a self employed garden designer and lecturer.  He is a radio presenter and broadcaster for the BBC with over 15 years experience, and has presented on BBC radio West Midlands, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and BBC Oxford.  Darren is better known to some as the “Laughing Gardener”.

We heard about the importance of the basic principles of pruning, all presented in an interesting and humorous way.  Here is a snap shot of some of Darrens main points.

Apical Dominance was the top issue and is key to successful pruning.  This involves taking off the top buds so that the dominant plant hormone Auxin is redirected to the side areas thereby causing the plant to bush out rather than just shoot high.

It is wise to think before using the shears, what are you trying to achieve?  A wine glass shape is really the ideal aim to achieve from a successful pruning exercise for a bush or tree.

Good pruning will maintain shape, vigour, structure and plant health.  It is essential to take out any dead wood, diseased or damaged parts, any crossing branches and untypical growth that you do not desire.

Darren explained the right time to prune deciduous plants and this is when the leaves have come off and the plant is dormant, between November to March.  Evergreens should be pruned September to October and again in March.

Fruit trees should be pruned back to the fruiting spurs as this will maintain the fruit crop.  Disbudding of plants and dead heading will give a better growth to remaining buds.

Another good tip was not to take cuttings for growing on from an old plant, only cut from young and vigorous plants to ensure a healthy new plant.

A big thank you to Darren for his time and for giving us all such a useful and entertaining presentation.

For Garden Design Consultancy Darren can be contacted on