Gardening: Take care when tackling tree pruning tasks

James Vaughan


James Vaughan


Gardening: Take care when tackling tree pruning tasks

I love this time of year. If you look about the gardens and hedgerows you see a wonderful display of colour before the trees and shrubs shed their leaves for the winter. If you choose trees and shrubs carefully you can achieve several different colours. Ash and Birch trees generally give a yellow hue.

Cherry blossom and Chestnut turn more of a copper or orange hue. Certain types of Oak tree will a lovely rich maroon and red. The soil you have will also dictate how brilliant your autumn colour in the garden is. If you have a more boggy or acidic soil then the colour will be that more pronounced.

This is the type of soil we have in our own garden. I have taken advantage of this by choosing certain plants for their autumn colour. We have chosen Japanese Maples, Oaks, Willow and Cherry Blossom.

Hedge Cutting

This is a great time of year to catch up with gardening tasks which you didn’t get a chance to do earlier in the year. The grass - and the weeds- have almost stopped growing.

This means we have more time to work on various gardening jobs. Legally in Ireland we are prohibited from cutting hedgerows from March 1 until August 31 each year. This is a measure introduced to ensure nesting birds have a chance to rear their young. This is a rule I also follow in our own garden and would encourage you to do the same.

A simple way to keep a hedge tidy is to give it a tight ‘top and sides’ trim at least once a year. If you have a mature or overgrown hedge then the process is less straight forward. The perceived wisdom is that you prune it over three years. In year one you would take the hedge down in height by the desired amount.

In year two you take in one side and in year three you take in the last side. This is especially suitable for evergreen hedges such as leylandii.

Tree Pruning

Among all gardening tasks this is, perhaps, the most dangerous. The moment you need to step up from firm ground- onto a ladder perhaps- the risk of danger is multiplied. There is the risk of not only of falling off but of cut limbs falling on top of you.

Even the smallest of branches could inflict a serious injury. I once had a work colleague who retold a story of onetime being almost blinded in one eye by a small twig. If at all possible, my advice would be to prune tress from the ground as much as possible.


How do you get rid of your trimmings and prunings ? Mungret recycling centre in Limerick, along with other recycling centres, take certain green waste.

They charge per car or trailer load. This is a great way of clearing debris from your garden. Another alternative for smaller quantities is to throw them into the home compost bin.

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