Ask a Question forum: Cutting back overgrown bushes

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Name: SunshineSophie Thomas
Sacramento, CA (Zone 9b)
May 21, 2017 3:49 PM CST
I have oleander and an unidentified bush that are overgrown on top, and I'd like to redefine their shape a bit. They are sparse on the bottom and the top is shading the bottom so it has no chance to grow. How do I go about this?

Below is an image of the unidentified bush.
Thumb of 2017-05-21/visitor/368155

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
May 21, 2017 4:16 PM CST

Your unidentified plant looks like Pittosporum tobira to me, compare with these pictures (we don't have flower close-ups in the NGA database so if others agree on the ID it would be great if you could add yours):

I have an oleander here and every few years I cut it right back to a few nodes above the ground (actually it's in a pot) and it grows right back although in this climate it doesn't flower the year after a drastic pruning. So it's fine to shape this how you would like. I have no experience growing the Pittosporum other than a seedling I had years ago so I don't know how that handles pruning. I'd just be glad if I could grow it here, I like the fragrance.

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