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The CPD guide for August

And the long version is Cutting back, pruning and deadheading in August full guide

As we close in on the long-awaited bank holiday weekend which marks the end of August, it’s the perfect time to get out in the garden and tend to your fully flowered plants for a good prune. Whether you have long climbing branches that need a cut back or a few tired-looking flowers that need a light deadheading, there are plenty of plants that require attention this month - but what should you be focusing on?

Pruning your plants correctly is the key to keeping them in good stead, producing healthy growth year after year.

What’s the difference between pruning, cutting back and deadheading?

Knowing the difference between cutting back, pruning and deadheading is also something to bear in mind when working out where to start in your garden this August.


This one is quite self-explanatory as it involves the physical removal of dead ‘heads’ of the plant - in other words, the spent blossoms Not all plants need deadheading so always do your research when tending to your plants and be sure to check which part of the plant needs ‘deadheading’ - this could vary between blossoms, buds and stems.


Pruning involves removing worn growth - similar to deadheading although this is done by pruning back to fresh growth.

Pruning is a form of ‘tough love’ for your plants and may leave them looking bare but it is worth it in the long run for a bold and populated plant.

Cutting back

This type of gardening can be used to encourage a more voluminous, stockier plant.

Cutting back can be done to tall-growing plants like asters which have long stems and can easily break when the plant reaches full growth.

Plants to tend to in August

Tending to your plants in August will ensure you get the most out of their growth when it is at its most efficient point. Redirecting the energy of your plant to the roots will encourage further vegetation to be produced rather than being wasted on seeds in old flowers.

Cut back…

  • Perennials - focus on tired looking geraniums and alchemilla .

Cut back delphiniums which can look overly spent in the late summer to rejuvenate the bold blue hue of these buttercup relatives.

Fruit trees - apples, medlars and mulberries produce a crop on short flowering spurs along the bottom half of branches I would recommend cutting back vigorous growth made in spring to encourage more productive growth to develop.


Wisteria - if left to overgrown it will cease to flower so a twice-yearly prune is essential for this delicate purple flower.

Climbers - as well as Wisteria, pay attention to honeysuckle, jasmine, star jasmine as these are prone to becoming a tangled mess by the end of summer.

Spring flowering shrubs - tackle shrubs that have flowered earlier in the season to maintain their shape and encourage new growth for next year.

  • Focus on deutzia, flowering quince, forsythia, philadelphus and lilac.

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