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Photinia red robin pruning query


We planted this hedge in Spring 2020.  This is the height that we would like it to be.  How can we help it to thicken out at mid height?  I'm always worried about chopping off the new growth at the top. 



  • I think you need to trim out new growth further up to allow more light into the lower parts of the hedge if you want the growth to thicken up there. I have read that you should aim to let your formal hedge have a wider lower part and become more narrow near the top so light can reach the bottom of the hedge plants and this helps them keep their leaves further down.

    Happy gardening!
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 3,558
    I think I might take a different approach prune it back by half and force it to grow at the base. Feed it and water. Continue to water it well for the coming months if dry.

    A garden is an oasis for creation, available to anyone with a little space and the compunction to get their hands dirty.

    Dan Pearson
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,115
    Sadly I agree with @robairdmacraignil and  @GardenerSuze, it needs a good chop if you want to stimulate new growth lower down. It's putting all its energy into making new growth at the top which is shading out the bottom. It needs to be wedge-shaped in cross-section, wider at the bottom and narrower at the top. It's hard to tell from the picture but it looks as if all the bulk is at the top now.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,818
    Agree.   It needs to be A or wedge shaped to help with light levels lower down and also help it shed any snow that might damage it in bad winters.

    Prune it back by a third to a half, taking each stem back to just above a leaf or stem node as that is where new growth will start.  Then make sure it is weed free at the base and cut back the grassed area which seems to be growing right up to the feet.   Give it a generous scattering of slow release food such as pelleted manure or blood, fish and bone and then, after a decent rainfall, give it a mulch of well-rotted garden compost, bought in MPC or even just chipped bark too retain moisture and suppress weeds which will compete for nutrients and water.   
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,115
    Good spot on the grass @Obelixx . I hadn't noticed that.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Have read that when needed to be kept as a low hedge, this shrub is very happy at 4' high.  
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,818
    Not so sure about that low as it really wants to be a tree.  I have  seen it as a 6' high but narrow, 1' hedge in a "stately" garden in Belgium and keeping it that well clipped meant there were always new red shoots and leaves.

    I have also seen it as a 30' high tree with its crown lifted so the structure and bark of the trunk and lower branches could be seen.   Planning to do that with one of ours in a mixed hedge which previous owners left uncut.  
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I dug up my last photinia last year as I got fed up with the constant pruning to keep it in check.  I still have to trim loads of next doors 20ft monster that reaches our house otherwise.

  • Many thanks for all of the replies. We will be brave and give it a good chop. In hindsight we should've bought smaller plants to start with but I guess we were rushing to get the height we wanted. 
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