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Mahonia Bushes

  I moved house 12 months ago and consequently inherited two mahonia bushes each approx. 4 foot tall.  One is green, lush and very healthy looking (situated in semi-shade) whilst the second is lanky, pale green/brown leaves with brown spots appearing (situated in sun for most of the day).  The bark on the stems is gnarled and bearing no leaf shoots apart from at the very top.  It seems to be going worse and I am wondering what I can do to revive it.  Can you please help?   Many thanks           CAROL  HYDE


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    I'd prune it hard down to about a foot from the ground and then mulch it. Mahonia can take a good hard prune. Mahonia prefers a shaded or semi shaded position so a move will help as well, being in full sun won't help. Keep the roots moist and it may recover.

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,493

    Agree with Dave - most Mahonia prefer shade and in full sun look quite ugly, exactly as you describe. Cutting it down should revive it. Place it in shade this time and use the sunny spot for other plants.

  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,138

    I have just removed (well the gardeners fought it for about an hour to get the huge root out.)   an old Mahonia Buckland as it was the wrong position and replaced it with an M media "winter sun." This is about two feet tall now and only has one single stem. Can someone tell me if I should cut it back now so it branches or leave it to get more established as it was only planted a few weeks ago. It was potted, not bare root.

    Thank you.


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    Mahonias are best pruned in late summer. I'd let it establish till then before thinking of pruning. Then you can take out the tops to encourage branching.

  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,138

    Thank you Dave.

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