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What to do with this bush?

Have this bush in the front garden and for the last 20 years, I have always just topped and trimmed it with the hedge trimmer. But over the last 2 years it's all got very out of shape and unruly and I'm unsure what to do with it.

it's too big for a start. I'd like to get it back to a manageable size. At the moment, when it rains, the outer stems just bend over and it looks dreadful. Id rather not take it out but how far can I go with it?

I don't know what it is, how best to thin it out and how best to manage it.

Any advice greatly appreciated as I'm out there now scratching my hear at it!





  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Trevor, I can't ID it from the photo's but can see that it happily sends up new stems from the base (these are a lighter brown colour.)  Because of that it would be safe to completely remove some of the old stems, right back to the ground.  A general recommendation is to remove one third of the oldest stems each year in case the shrub only flowers on wood which is one or two years old.  That way you will still get flowers but will be able to gain and maintain control of it's size.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,126

    I thought it might be a variety of pyracantha but a close up pic will help to identify it.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    It may be one of the snowberry's, in which case you can cut it back to the ground, they're very hard to kill.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,166

    I was thinking one of the spireasimage

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Thanks to all. That gives me a couple of names to go on.

    It is indeed very "woody". So you think that I could just take out the oldest branches to ground level and let whatever's left do its thing? Would it be ok to take the tops off the remainder? I'd like to get it down to a level where I can take a hedge trimmer to it without balancing precariously on a step ladder with a header trimmer!!!
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,166

    It would probably benefit from a good hack.Over a couple or three years I'd have all those old stems back to base. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • cloud8cloud8 Posts: 103

    If you would like to keep it how about removing a third of the oldest stems right down to the ground?  That works for a lot of plants and if it doesn't work you've only lost a third of it.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,053

    Spiraea Van Houtteii?

  • Well I stood looking at it for the past week and I've waited until the wife was away before I took the choppers to it! I've taken well over half a metre off the top. There was a lot of dead wood in the middle and I've cleared it so the inners can see some light.


    I aim to now leave it to see what it does before next year, maybe going at it again. Bottom line is, I can now get to the top without nearly killing myself on steps on uneven ground!

    May thanks for all the advice and yes Hostafan, I think you've correctly ID'd it as a Spiraea Van Houtteii. And looking at the pictures of how they should look in bloom, I sincerely hope it is.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 84,007

    Now I'd give it a sprinkling of Fish, Blood and Bone to perk it up image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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