Gardening Tips with Charlie Albone



When doing a Spring garden clean-up, it’s always best to start at the top and work your way down. This way, you will get the best overall finish at the end of the day. Start by pruning all your trees and large shrubs first. These large elements will play a key role in the feel of your garden and create microclimates under their canopies, so give them a once-over annually to maintain their shape and to keep the canopy under control. These elements are also the ones you will miss the most if they were to suddenly disappear, so inspecting them for pests and diseases as you prune is a good idea.


Shaping your trees

Trees are great naked but when they start to put leaves on they need a haircut! As your trees put on leaves again consider pruning them for shape, you’ll have a better understanding of the impact the leaves will have on the overall look of the plant. Remember slowly does it – it comes off easy but takes a while to grow back.

Choosing new trees

Now is the time to pick your spring flowering trees – they look their best now and you’ll understand the impact they will have on your garden if you install them at their prime. Don’t let the flower overshadow the overall health of the tree – you want a healthy tree that also flowers well, rather than one that is putting on a spectacular show that may have some issues such as bark inclusions or poor past pruning.



Charlie’s top tips for tree pruning

  1. Before you start pruning, develop a plan as to where the cuttings are likely to fall and lay a tarp.
  2. The telescopic shaft on STIHL Battery Pole Pruners like the HTA 86 can be extended to 3.9m with one quick action, reaching trees up to 5m high. When operating your pole pruner at this height, ensure you are wearing safety glasses and a helmet.
  3. Maintain an angle of no more than 60° to the limb you are working on. This will make sure you are not under it when it falls!
  4. For stability, keep your arms at waist level; do not extend them overhead.
  5. When pruning, focus on removing the three D’s – Dead, Damaged and Diseased.
  6. Only apply light pressure when you cut and avoid using the tip of the cutting bar.
  7. To stop the guide bar being pinched when pruning heavy branches, make a small relieving cut in the compression side first (usually at the bottom of the branch), then a second cut (called a bucking cut) at the opposite side.

Charlie’s top tools for tree trimming & shaping

  • For low hanging branches, take a look at STIHL’s new GTA 26 Battery Garden Pruner. The GTA 26 is a versatile tool with a wide range of uses. Perfect for pruning trees or shrubs, cutting up garden waste, DIY projects and building with wood.
  • For branches up to 5m high, the HTA 86 Battery Powered Pole Pruner with telescopic pole from STIHL’s AP Battery System is the tool you need. Whether you are pruning trees, removing dead wood, trimming breakage due to storms or cutting back fruit trees, the HTA 86 delivers with every cut.

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