To prune or am I too late....

Hi all,
Rather a newbie here I'm afraid. Very interested in wildlife (www.gbwildlife.co.uk) and now want to learn the gardening side of that.
We had the chance to look over our garden today which has got great potential but has been a little neglected over the last few years. The question is basically is it too late in the year to prune things back (or is that a newbie question and does it depend what I am pruning). We have lots of books but some of the advice seems a little tricky - dont prune if risk of frost which may be as late as May but surely we cant wait too late or everything will be in bloom??
We basically want to prune things back as many shrubs and gotten very tangled and the plants underneath are not getting enough light.
We also seem to have quite boggy soil in parts so may need to look at some drainage (I think due to the fact we live part way down a hill and there is an underlying clay soil).
Thanks for any advice - we are worried about doing more harm that good!
Andrew
--
andyc123

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On 4/13/2008 4:28 PM, andyc123 wrote:

Yes, the answer depends highly on the plants and on your climate.
What you really need is a comprehensive gardening book that is oriented to your climate and geography. You might ask at your local public library.
Two other sources of information would be a good local nursery (not a lumber yard or hardware store) and the home adviser at your county's agricultural extension service.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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andyc123 wrote:

Andrew,
Be aware that if you prune non-dormant plants, you are going to stimulate growth as the plant's juices are flowing and it will try to push new growth to make up for what you prune off. Better to prune when the plant is dormant, to avoid this. That would probably be in the late Winter, in most climates.
Sherwin
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On 4/14/2008 1:00 AM, sherwindu wrote:

Certain flowering trees should be pruned immediately after they flower. This includes the ornamental varieties of the stone fruits (e.g., Japanese flowering cherry). Also, camellias and azaleas are pruned after they flower. This might also apply to ornamental pome fruits (e.g., flowering crabapple, evergreen pear).
In a home garden, citrus is pruned throughout the growing season for appearance and to remove deadwood. Otherwise, it doesn't need pruning at all. Never prune citrus in the late winter or early spring if frost is still likely more than 3 weeks later, and don't prune in the fall if frost is likely within the following 6 weeks.
My loquat flowered in the winter; its fruit is just now starting to ripen. I'll prune it in the early summer after all fruit has been picked.
The heavy pruning of roses is indeed done in the winter (around New Year Day for me). Every time I remove a dead rose blossom, however, it is a form of pruning. I make the cut not merely to remove the flower but also to shape the bush and direct new growth.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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"David E. Ross" wrote:

Flowers are not my forte, but I thought the kind of pruning you are suggesting is meant to stimulate further blooming. I think the O.P. wants to open up his plants and untangle them.

Living in zone 5, most of my experience is with apples, pears, and stone fruits, and for those, my suggestions should be ok.
Sherwin

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On 4/15/2008 12:03 AM, sherwindu wrote [in part]:

You prune flowering stone fruits (and possibly flowering pome fruits) after they bloom, not to promote additional flowering in the same season, but to promote the growth that will flower in the next year. This is a comprehensive pruning, to open up the branch structure, remove deadwood, and stimulate new growth. It's the same kind of pruning that I do in January on my fruiting peach tree before it flowers. However, a comprehensive pruning removes some flowering wood. Thus, you wait until after ornamental "fruit" trees flower before you prune them.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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