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Woody Shrubs -whats the best course of action?

Guys, new to the board hello everyone.  I got some plants delivered which were in the main poor to say the least.  Managed to agree a settlement with the supplier but I still have the plants.  They are hebes and Skimmia Japonica Thereza.  Could any of you experts out there give me some guidance on what to do with these?  Will they come back?  Should I prune to zero?  Thanks in anticipation


  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,970
    edited April 2020
    The Aucuba can be cut back hard, but I would still be cautious about doing it all in one go... maybe gradually prune back to a low framework doing about a third of it at once. Tidy up the congested branches and make it more open.

    Hard pruning a Hebe can kill them, unless they're actively shooting from the base. I would remove branches and make cuttings from them. This might promote some growth from lower down but far from certain. But you have plenty of good cutting material there!
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    I think these plants are poorly managed and possibly pushed against other plants leading to bald patches. Sadly both shrubs will need time and care to nurse back to their best.

    As mentioned by WillDB, Hebe's are a bit hit and miss with hard pruning, so prune lightly. Once they become woody, they don't always bounce back if you prune back into old wood. However, if you want to, it's worth a gamble, since they can grow back sometimes, but take a long time to recover. I did this to mine many years ago and it took two years to grow back decent.

    Skimmia shrubs are slow growing, so if you were to prune into the woody branches, be prepared for nothing for at least a year, and the flowers will not form for another year on top of that.
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,182
    I’ve cut back hebes successfully before. But only cut back to where you can see buds breaking and not on the whole plant at once. Although I did cut back dramatically across the whole plant with a hebe last year to the lowest buds I could see and that regrew very nicely.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,970
    Sorry I thought I it was an Aucuba, rather than a Skimmia!
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