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European Gardening: hot winter - when to prune?

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dpmichael
Rethymno, Crete
Greece
(Zone 10b)

January 12, 2007
2:53 PM

Post #3076732

We all know and see on the tv that the plants are fooled by the warm weather all over Europe. My question is:

Should we prune now, as we did in the past? The fear is that many trees/vines/roses etc have new growth buds on them, and we are afraid of hurting the plants if we prune - your opinions would be most valuable

Dimitri
Patbarr
Sheffield
United Kingdom
(Zone 7b)

January 12, 2007
10:00 PM

Post #3077871

I have pruned my vines now as they "bleed" when they start into growth, and I think the sap will be rising if I leave them any longer with it being so mild.

I have given some shrubs a trim to prevent wind rock, but am leaving the rest until nearer Spring as I don't want to encourage them to send out any new growth while there is still the possibility of frost.

I shouldn't think frost would be a problem in Crete, do you get any frost? If there is nothing which would damage the new shoots at this time of year, I don't think it would matter if you pruned now to maintain the shape of things and encourage new growth.

As we have been experiencing warmer winters I have been pruning the roses earlier. My father always said to wait until the beginning of April, but the past few years they have been sending out new shoots in March, so I have brought forward the pruning by two or three weeks and they have been alright.
mike_freck
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8b)

January 13, 2007
5:54 PM

Post #3080068

I'll go with that, Pat.
Just do "tidying up" before winter then the major pruning in march/april. Depends on the season though. Last year was a slow start even though it was classed as a warm year. Just don't go mad prunning spring flowering stuff untill its done its thing as these usually flower on last years wood. Like magnolias etc.
It might be warm here but most hardy shrubs have not really started growing yet, plus the cold weather didn't hit here untill 2nd week in feb last year so plenty of time for 6 foot of snow yet.

Mike
dpmichael
Rethymno, Crete
Greece
(Zone 10b)

January 13, 2007
11:04 PM

Post #3080952

Thank you Pat and Mike, i will consider your points; here it is beyond imagination to prune in March/April as by then it is fully blown Springtime. Also, cold northern wind and rain hit us today so by the looks of it we return to winter, new growth will be destroyed by cold so there is no need to change the pruning strategy.

Best wishes

Dimitri
mike_freck
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8b)

January 14, 2007
5:44 PM

Post #3083249

I heard from a farmer type today that next week its turning cold here. There usually right.
I reckon plants have there way of sorting them selves out. Its only when we try cheating nature with none native stuff that we need to take more care. Like bedding its a tricky time in the spring. Some years you get lucky so you don;t.
I'll never forget losing a greenhouse full of fuchsia because i chanced the weather.
Now i wait till the horse chesnut tree is in flower to tell me when the last frost has happened. Its not failed me in the last 8 years. But it will, lol

Patbarr
Sheffield
United Kingdom
(Zone 7b)

January 14, 2007
7:34 PM

Post #3083587

I've just been comparing this winter with last, and 2005 - 2006 we had 48 frosty nights starting on 13th November and the last on 30th May. This winter we had the first frost on 1st November, but have only had 12 frosts so far, and some of those were only just a touch of frost early in the morning, so there is no wonder everything has kept growing and flowering.

Like you say Mike, there is still plenty of time for bad weather, and February almost always means snow here ("up North") anyway.

What do you call cold, Dimitri? We think we have had a mild winter with temperatures of 10 C. If your plants are used to warmer winter temperatures I suppose they will be damaged by colder weather even if it doesn't freeze.
mike_freck
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8b)

January 15, 2007
11:13 AM

Post #3085587

I buy in plants from Italy in Mid feb. Some times when i go and tag them it can be roasting hot and sometimes there is even snow. The Italians of course say its cold even when i'm walking round in a t'shirt.
These plants still get damaged in our frosts even though they have been under snow there (i lost a few wisteria a few years ago that way). They all seem to come into leaf at the exact same time as our english grown plants for instance wisteria would leaf up and flower at the same time as english bought ones.
I'm thinking there is more too it than the winter alone. I think it has something to do with general warming patterns that bring things into leaf. So warm winter weather won't matter too much as long as we do get a steady warming pattern in spring.

Hope that makes sense. lol I wanted to draw a graph or something to try and describe it.

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