The Q&A Archives: Moving Cotoneaster

Question: We just bought a house here that has 10 "Peking" Cotoneasters next to the sidewalk in the front, and it faces north. Will they overrun the sidewalk, or should we move them to the back yard along the fence line? Also what is the difference between Peking and the Rock variety? The soil in this area is sandy. Any help you can give me on this would be appreciated.

Answer: Cotoneasters prefer well-drained, loose, sandy soil, so you should be fine in that respect. Though they are vigorous growers, they can be pruned any time to keep them under control.

Peking cotoneaster is Cotoneaster acutifolius; it is very similar to hedge cotoneaster, C. lucidus. Left unpruned, they can grow to 6 to 10 feet tall. They have a nice upright branching habit, and are often used for hedges. Rock cotoneaster (C. horizontalis) is much lower-growing, growing to a height of only 2 to 3' with a spread of 5 to 8'. This spreading habit makes it a nice "ground cover". It also looks attractive trailing down a hillside.

Because they have relatively sparse root systems, cotoneasters can be difficult to transplant. I would leave them in place and keep them in bounds with regular pruning.

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