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Help me prune!

Hello folks,

I have three plants out the front of my house and they are getting a little big and out of control. 

I was hoping for some advice regarding how and when to prune them back (and advice on what they are!).

The cherry tree is looking a bit thin and woody so I think it needs a good hard prune to help it look a bit better next year. Can’t tell what type of cherry tree it is but it doesn’t fruit (fabulous pink flowers in spring however).

The other two plants - I have no idea!

The vine grows like crazy and just needs a good pruning now and then.

thanks in advance!


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  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 511
    Hi - I expect some close up photos might help the experts on here to identify them for sure, but I think the shrub that is around the cherry tree is Aucuba japonica. If I can be blunt, it is really suffocating the tree. If it is Aucuba, it can be cut back really hard and survive, but probably best to do it in spring not now.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    Yes - that [Aucuba] needs removing completely. The tree's suffering because of it. 
    The other 'shrub' just looks like Privet. 
    As to the climbers - possibly a hydrangea. There also looks like a Wisteria over on the far left, but I don't know if that's yours, but it looks mixed in with the other one. 
    Would need good close ups of the foliage though.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    I just had another thought re the other shrub @gregorhanslik - it might be an Osmanthus rather than privet. I knew it didn't really look privet-y, but couldn't bring anything else to mind. 
    I knew it looked familiar - I grow one and I've just taken some cuttings!
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,877
    The climber looks a bit Virginia Creeper-ish to me. Does it turn red in the autumn?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    Looking at that 2nd pic, I think you might be right @JennyJ   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Hello everyone,

    Thank you so much for your input and advice. It is greatly appreciated.

    It looks like you’ve identified the vine correctly as a Virginia creeper. It’s very vigourous but seems to be under control. We just have to trim it back quite often.

    I’ll look to get rid of the Japanese plant sometime soon. If it’s causing problems for the cherry tree then I guess it has to go.

    If the hedge is a privet, any suggestions about how and when to prune it? It is getting a little rowdy.

    same question for the cherry tree — an autumn trim perhaps?

    Ta!
  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 511
    Hi - you don't prune cherry trees in the autumn, as they can get a fungal/bacterial infection. I think the best time is summer, so you might be able to squeeze a trim in the next couple of weeks. However, I would be inclined to leave it this year, until you can see it properly and decide what needs doing. It might be OK once it is set free and given some feed!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    If it's privet, it can be cut back at any time - the only time you would be careful is if birds were nesting in it. Less likely when it's a single specimen though.
    However, I'm not sure my original ID was correct. I think Osmanthus might be nearer the mark. Again - it can really be tidied up at any time, although after flowering would be the ideal. I just take individual stems out as opposed to an all over shearing.  They flower in late winter/early spring, so it might be worth waiting to see if you have flowers. That would also help with an ID, although if @Silver surfer is around, she will give you an ID no problem   :)
    Cherries are usually pruned in summer, as opposed to most trees, because they can get something called silver leaf, and it helps prevent that. 
    Here's a link to some info 
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=233
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 511
    Sorry - should have said - please post a close-up of the privet/osmanthus. If it is privet, you can prune it hard in late winter to get it back in control:
    https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/will-privet-cope-with-hard-pruning/

    A slight trim now, checking for birds nesting would allow you to reach your door!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,327
    It's probably not ideal where it is anyway.
    Something smaller, or at least positioned in a better site, might be easier to work with  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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