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Pittosporum tenuifolium "Silver Queen" ~ UPDATE

England Eng

My Pittosporum in the photo was planted by me in my back garden some years ago. The picture, taken in Spring 2009, is from my GoY home page. In the photo, you can see my shrub between Gromit and the Wood Pigeon.

During recent hot weather a lot of leaves have dropped off my Pittosporum. It still looks healthy but leaves have fallen from the inner part of the shrub. My neighbour has an oversized birch tree, by the fence, which grows even more huge and dominant every year, sucking the moisture from my garden, especially in the area of the Pittosporum. :o(

Please advise about pruning. Would this encourage the shrub to produce new leaves ? What time of year should I do this ?
Autumn ? A light hair cut all over ?

Thank you in advance for your answers. I realise it takes time to reply to questions. :o)

P1010199_gromit___pigeon_mar.09 P1100229



You can prune this as required - however, I wouldn't, at this time of year, take loads off - it'll encourage to much soft growth and we're coming to the end of the season. Trim it over a bit, then cut back next Spring, April May time, if its warm enough - I used to do mine then and once cut it back by half - it survived! I would though, take off up to a quarter now, if you really need to.

19 Jul, 2009


Hello Bamboo.

I'll follow your advice. I'll give it a light trim this week, but it seems sensible to then wait until May next year, when I can get really busy with the secateurs...

... by which time the pigeon might be out of the bath. Lol.. Thank you.

19 Jul, 2009


Oh my god, I didn't even notice that, so busy looking at the plant! He looks very comfy, if a little damp. Talking of pigeons, I had one in my sitting room during the heatwave at 6 in the morning - I'd left the french window door and all the windows open all night. He was battering himself against the only shut window trying to get out - broke 2 vases and scattered marbles all over the room. He was a big, fat wood pigeon - eventually I threw a towel over him when he rested on the floor, thinking I'd pick him up, at which point, he emerged from the towel and waddled over to the open door and hopped out. Took me nearly an hour to clean up the mess...

19 Jul, 2009


Pittosporums do seem to lose quite a few leaves fairly regularly throughout the year so i wouldn't worry unduly, i have several different varieties and they all do it except for the low grower 'Tom Thumb'.

I trim mine back regularly and it's good at promoting new growth, infact, the less you trim the more dormant they seem to be !

19 Jul, 2009


Lol. Bamboo ~
I like your pigeon story...
In your neighbourhood, it seems your future uninvited indoor visitors could well be those numerous, wild West London Ring Necked Parakeets.. Lol. :o)

Thanks, Louise ~
Interesting to know that the Pittosporums lose their leaves fairly regularly. Seems my shrub would actually thank me for the hair cut...

Will the leaves grow back only at the extremities of the shrub, as opposed to further back along the branches?

19 Jul, 2009


Yes TT, i find that it's the tips that sprout new growth rather than back into the branch.
I'm trimming the front tips of my Wendel Channons to encourage upward growth and it's doing exactly as i want :)))

19 Jul, 2009


Thanks. That helps me to decide on its hair style. :o)

Do you have a photo of your Wendel Channons on your homepage ?

19 Jul, 2009


No i don't yet TT, i'll take a photo when the winds and rains stop .... not sure what day that'll be though !!!

They were planted about 18 months ago (i think) as very small plants and are situated behind my sunny border in the front garden.

19 Jul, 2009


Thanks. Maybe please put a comment on this thread when the rains stop and you upload the pic to GoY..

....probably around June, 2010.. Lol.

19 Jul, 2009


(will do TT)

19 Jul, 2009


A few weeks ago I had to prune back a couple of lower branches of my Pittosporum ... sort of below where you can see Gromit in the photo ... because my shed door was folding back on the branches ... pruned them back to about 12 to 16 inches remaining ...

These branches have not regrown at all, but the rest of the shrub has new life at the tips ... Fortunately, the cut branches are not those which really show, but I've now rather lost confidence in pruning the shrub in case there is no new growth where I prune.

Is it like Lavender ? Don't prune too far back ?
I had rather presumed from comments above that once the weather was warmer I could cut quite a lot off ?

Comments welcome, please.. Thanks. :o)

4 May, 2010


All I can tell you is I used to shear mine over every May, and as I said before, took more than a third of the topgrowth off one time, and it was fine.

4 May, 2010


Thank you, Bamboo...
I'll experiment with pruning a branch at the back which doesn't show... and see what happens :o)

Maybe I pruned those other branches a bit too early in the year...

4 May, 2010


Just checked the book again - according to that, you can even use P. tenuifolium as hedging, but I think it might respond better to that kind of pruning, rather than taking out branches back to the trunk, particularly low down. I'd wait a couple of weeks and then cut it all back by a third all over, or even a half, from the outside in, if you get my drift.

4 May, 2010


I have mine as a hedge, in the front garden and it's under attack from either caterpillars or slugs and snails (see my own question).

4 May, 2010


Thanks for response...
Just to clarify.. the slim branches I cut were left about 12" - 16" in length.. not cut back to the trunk... But no new growth on the 12" or 16" remaining...

I'll take a look at your question Louise. Thanks for mentioning it...

4 May, 2010


Well, then maybe you did, as you say, do it too early, although its fair to say that the lateral wood at the bottom of a bush will be very mature compared to higher up. Be interested to know if they produce growth later or not.

4 May, 2010


Thanks Bamboo...
I'll come back to this question to update with any developments... :o)

4 May, 2010


lost my response!

10 Jun, 2010


Hi Mapleleaf 24...
Please key in your response again below this comment and don't forget to press submit.. Thanks :o)

10 Jun, 2010


A spurt of regrowth this year ... to the top half of the shrub ..

please see new photo added ...

... I've discovered that it puts on new shoots after plenty of watering ...

19 May, 2013

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