The Q&A Archives: Photinia

Question: I have a tall hedge of red tipped shrubs and I need to prune them. They're getting thin at the bottom. Any suggestions?

Answer: Your Photinia are perfect plants for a nice, dense hedge. The only way to renovate a hedge is to crawl in and work your way out. If you just shear the tips of the plants, you'll get short, dense growth. If you cut branches back to the main trunk, you'll encourage new growth at the trunk. Try to trim so the top of the hedge is more narrow than the bottom, to allow light to penetrate all the way down to the bottom of the hedge. Think of an "A" as the desired shape when you've finished pruning. Cut back the sparse branches so they'll sprout new twigs and leaves, and remove those branches that are dead or a different color than all the rest. Just go slowly and step back periodically until you've gotten the desired shape. Photiniasare vigorous plants that will respond to your pruning by producing lots of new growth in the spring.

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