Don’s Expert Answers: Existing hedge

Question From:
Carol Humphries in Mittagong, Sydney New South Wales

Nature of problem:
Existing hedge

Type of Plant (if known):
Photinia glabra ‘Rubens’

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):
None just too big

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:

How often do you water the plant:
Only in the summer

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:

How long since you planted it:
Many years

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
I use a high nitrogen fertiliser in spring

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:

What other treatments have you given the plant:

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
Can I hard prune this Photinia hedge, when I bought the house it was smaller and compact but now getting larger and sparse in the Centre, the hedgers seem to just clip over the top and it’s very big, I’m a bit reluctant to cut into the bare wood one the inside unless I ask first. It’s quiet old we have been here 8 years and it was reasonable size then. We have cold winters so wasn’t thinking about doing it till spring. Is it a good idea to reduce it by 1/3.
Regards Carol Humphries

Smart Question Carol. Yes you can butcher photinias very severely and they will bush up quickly. With regular watering and fertilising, full density should be achieved within 18 months. You can reduce them by one third, but harder pruning is fine as well. The ideal time to do it is either in the last week of Winter or the first week of Spring, but any time from September to March is OK. Don