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Can my pieris be redirected by pruning?


I took over my garden over 5 years ago, and though leisure-time poor, I'm gradually getting it into shape. By the time I'm allowed to retire by government and 'employer' (it's complicated, don't ask) sometime in the 2030s I may have achieved that. But I'm only a willing gardener, not an expert, nor even 'keen'.

In my garden is a pieris, in a border, that has straggled 18 inches or more from its planting location, probably due to crowding by the big, green triffid (no idea what it's called) to the right of the picture. As a result the pieris is crowding the path and impeding other plants. The triffid proliferates like mad all over that area of the garden. I probably ought to grub it out, but there's always so much else to do.

There are a few dead twigs near the base, but no other obvious signs of buds that might be encouraged into shoots and become the body of a revived shrub.

I had a pieris before in my previous garden, which I cut a few small bits off in an attempt to get it to thicken up, but it never thrived, and I often wondered if it was because of the cutting. So I need to know whether, if I cut the pieris off near its base, that will encourage it to sprout new growth and revitalise into a proper shape with a bit of encouragement and the triffid kept under control, or simply shock the poor shrub into an early death?

For information, the soil is imported topsoil on a sand base (the town is built on coastal sand dunes). Any useful advice will be read with interest, and some of it may indeed be taken!


  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364

    What sort of soil do you have?  It needs an acid soil.  I have been able to chop mine right down and it has grown back .if the roots of the existing plant are very woody I would dig it right up and remove all the old wood .

    But your soil sounds very poor could there be a lot of salt residue on the soil you have.  Pieris may never  grow well in your soil.

    Have a look for plants that will tolerate salty surroundings.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,864

    I think your triffids are Acanthus Mollis. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,005

    Whatever you decide to do, you'll still have the problem of the two plants competing for nutrients, light and moisture.

    It might be worth digging out the Pieris, and buying a new one to grow elsewhere, assuming you have reasonable soil and conditions for it (not alkaline, and reasonably moist ) and can then give it enough room to thrive properly. You'd then have room for something smaller, and lower growing which would work better in that space.    image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks to those who have responded. I appreciate the ID on the triffid. A question of clarification: How would I know whether the soil is acid enough for a pieris?

  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364

    A small soil testing kit most garden centres should have them. for under a tenner. Does anyone  grow Rhodendrons or such there? That would be an indicator .

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

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