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We have a large Ceanothus tree in our garden, it must be at least 25 feet tall with 35 foot spread. It looks magnificent in bloom but has grown above our greenhouse and as this area is very windy we need to prune it back before a branch break soff and causes damage.

We are worried about taking too much off in case we kill it? Should we attempt it or seek professional help?

Can anyone help please?


  • pr1mr0sepr1mr0se Posts: 1,194

    KO - that is huuuuge!  I can only relate to my own experiences - although these are on a much, much smaller scale.

    Firstly, my in-laws had a large hedge of mixed planting, in which were several ceanothus.  They (the in-laws) worked on the principle that "low maintainence" is the same as "no maintainence" so, inevitably, the hedge as a whole and the ceanothus in particular, got out of hand.  I got stuck in with loppers and secateurs, cut back after flowering, gave them a good watering and a good feed, and they came back as good as (well, better than) new.

    I did something similar when I moved into my current property.  In fact, it was in an awkward position, so I was quite prepared to lose it.  But a little bit of TLC and it's fine.

    Neither of these was anything like the size that you have.  Unless there is a better opinion from someone more qualified, I would suggest that you make haste slowly.  Think about reducing the size by no more than one third for the next couple of years.  Don't try it atm because the heat will put it under stress.  But carefully cut back in the normal pruning mode (ie above a smaller branch or node) and cutting out any crossing branches.  Water copiously and give it a good feed.

    I would think this might work, but I am not qualified, so there may be better advice out there.

  • Lizzie6Lizzie6 Posts: 3

    My cherry blossom tree suffered badly after flowering beautifully due to the heavy rains and cold. It looks very sad now and appears to be wrotting! Would it help to prune it; can I safely prune it back? If so, how do I go about this? Its more than 10 years old.

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    No, pruning will not solve your cherry tree's problems, it may well make them worse.

    When you say that it is rotting, what exactly do you mean? Cherry trees don't just start to rot from the rain.

  • BenDoverBenDover Posts: 484
    Just remember that Ceanothus does not sprout new growth from old wood, so if in pruning hard back you think it will re-invigorate it, you will end up with lots of open gaps in the hedge. I often use a hedge trimmer on my Ceanothus once flowering is over, but I only ever trim fresh green growth - I never go into old wood.
  • Lizzie6Lizzie6 Posts: 3

    its difficult to describe.   What was the blossom was wet through, soddenened from the all rain we had and then the weather went cold and what was the blossom has gone brown (looks dead).   There are very few green leaves left on any of the branches.

    I know after blossoming the tree "dies" back but I havent seen in look this "sad" in all the years I've had it.   Should I just leave it alone until late Summer and maybe light prune then?

  • Lizzie6Lizzie6 Posts: 3

    ps - it blossomed beautifully this year, like it has for many years previously. 

  • KOKO Posts: 2

    Thanks for all your advice.  My husband did cut it back by a third 2 years ago,since then  its gone berserk and has grown about 6 feet more?! It IS huge,I've never seen a Ceanothus this big or one that has become a fully grown TREE,  It's also an evergreen and we'd hate to lose it as it's the best 'plant' in our garden.  I'd read that they dont recover if you prune into old wood so maybe the best thing to do is just remove the branches above the greenhouse completely and prune the rest back by a third again?

  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    i have been told that ceanothus come in a tree and ground cover plant.. and i think they are right.. my neighbour 2 day had one that was a tree while mine is just spreading over ground..

    can i make it grow like a tree if i prune it right?

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