Ask a Question forum: photinia growth pattern

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Tucson, AZ 85658
Jan 20, 2018 9:44 AM CST
Our house is on a street corner. A sidewalk follows a 6 foot block wall that runs along our back yard. The sidewalk grade is higher than our back yard so people walking along the sidewalk can look into our yard. We asked a landscaper to plant some photinias along the wall for privacy and instead of the full bushes we expected he gave us treed plants. He argued that the bushy tops would provide privacy that we didn't need below. We expected the tops of the plants would continue to grow up and out but instead the only growth has been along the trunk where branches are starting to form. My wife says that to promote growth on top I should snip off these new branches but I am skeptical. I think that the only way the plants will grow higher and fill in on top is to let them become the bushes they clearly want to be and that eventually, once they fill in below, they will grow up and out on top. What do you think?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jan 20, 2018 7:38 PM CST

You are both right. The plants are putting energy into growing side shoots right now but eventually, the tops will start to grow again. If you want the tops to grow right now, keep the shoots pruned off the trunks. If you rub them off when they are small, you won't end up with a "prickly trunk".

I would have taken the gardener to task immediately because he did not provide what you wanted.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost


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