Photinia pruning made easy

by Natasha Starkell | 04.02.2014 | medium | 1 times | Rating: 7 votes

Photinias can get quite leggy and sparse so cutting back is a good idea.

If you’re looking to fill your garden with bright foliage for year round colour, then photinias have to be an ideal solution. 

This evergreen has glossy green leaves and white flowers, but their best feature has to be the vibrant red new growth. Like all evergreens it needs the right pruning to keep it maintained and photinias, in particular, can get quite leggy and sparse so cutting back is a good idea.

When to prune photinia

Photinias should be pruned in mid-spring when the chances of hard frosts have past. New growth is very vulnerable to frost damage, so don’t cut these plants after August as the resulting new growth could be damaged by winter weather.

Cut back all stems by 15 cm

Many varieties of photinia can grow extremely quickly, and you’ll need to cut back plants every year. This will also promote lots of new red shoots to appear in subsequent months. Around 15cm can be cut off all stems during April or May.

Take each stem in your hand and trace your finger back to a healthy outward-facing bud or pair of leaves. Cutting above outward-facing beds simply means that the new branches will grow in the outward direction, increasing the size of photinia shrub rather than inwards, creating a messy shape.

Use sharp secateurs to make a clean cut above the buds or leaves. Continue this process until you’ve pruned all stems, stepping back repeatedly to ensure you’re creating the right shape and size.

Pruning photonia hedges 

If you’re using photinia as a hedging plant, promote new growth by clipping the tips of emerging shoots up to three times a year, though care must be taken not to prune after August.

Renovating old photinia shrubs

Photinias do respond well to renovation and can be significantly cut back to older wood. Inward-growing shoots should be removed, enabling you to get a well-structured and shrubby plant. 

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Sharp secateurs
Pruning saw for older and woodier stems
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