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Pruning sarcococca

I have a large sarcococca, about 7 foot high, 5 across. It is probably about 20 years old. It has been pruned in the past by a hedge trimmer but has rather lost its natural character. I'd like to reduce the size and let it grow back naturally.  I'm thinking maybe take out some of the top branches altogether. Or should I reduce it all over ?  Can I prune into bare wood ? And at what time of year ?  If I do it now I will loose spring flower, but maybe winter is better to stop sap bleeding. Advice needed please.


  • I think it may be best to reduce the size over 2-3 years. Maybe start by removing any unwanted suckers from around the base of the plant and trimming back overlong shoots. Or remove a third of the unwanted branches at base level, but that may affect the shape of the plant. Being evergreen it is better to prune in Spring to minimise frost damage to cut surfaces.
    Hope this helps.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • Thanks but there is very little of the shrub at ground level. No suckers, just two 'trunks' and one low thick branch. At the moment it looks top heavy as the mechanical pruning has lead to a lot of dense top growth. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,006
    Can you post a photo?  Hard to advise without seeing it.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

  • You can tell the height by the 6 foot fence. Think I underestimated. Must be eight foot tall and wide.
  • Pomona27Pomona27 Posts: 10
    edited October 2018

    From a different angle

  • This is really embarrassing. It's an osmanthus burkwoodii not a sarcococca.
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,584
    edited October 2018
    Oh don't worry i was just thinking it looked more Pittosporum-ish :) I was looking it up as it did not look quite like our Sarcococca.
    (And had to look up Pittosporum as I always forget the name).
    I hacked a lot off our Osmanthus a few years ago, ours is only around twenty, not as venerable as yours. It regenerated quite well.
    I did it after it had flowered, not sure how hard you want to cut yours back but ours seems to grow quite well from old thick stems.
    PS  edit, yours looks a nice shape all round.

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