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Can I hard prune a Photinia 'Red Robin'

West Somerset, England Eng

As you can see from the photo, this one has got rather 'leggy'. I know I should prune it in the spring to get red shoots, but can this particular shrub be hard pruned to get a better shape and possibly more red shoots? Advice please!

On plant Photinia x fraseri




My book on pruning states these shrubs often throw up strong growths from the base and these can be used to replace old branches. It also says that old shrubs do not produce much new red growth and the plant loses strength. I would be inclined to give it a heavy feed in the spring and see how it responds

22 Oct, 2007


Thanks - will try it and if no response it may have to be replaced ...:-( P.S. Does this mean that I should not prune it at all??

22 Oct, 2007


I read that this shrub can get up to 15' if left to it's own devices in favourable conditions. It tolerates moderate pruning or shearing which encourages the classic red tips

23 Oct, 2007


The RHS Encyclopaedia (my bible!) suggests that normal pruning consists of removing misplaced or crossing shoots to maintain a permanent healthy framework in late winter or early spring while the shrub is dormant. Although the species plant can reach 15 feet, 'Red Robin' is described as 'compact'

23 Oct, 2007


I work at a nursery, yes you can prune it but I am advised to not hard prune as you may shock it into dying. Prune 50% of it the first year and then the remainder after it has started to show new shoots lower down. If you don't prune them they will not produce new red leaves.

28 Oct, 2007


Thanks Dawn! It can have one last chance...:-)

29 Oct, 2007


My question would be: how old is this plant?

If it is fairly young, don't go hacking it down! Give it a light trim with secateurs later on in the winter, removing a few inches, and then trim off new growth every now and then next summer, as it begins to lose its red colour.
Do this for a couple of years and your plant will bush out nicely.

If it is a much older, well established plant, you could be more severe, but check how much direct sunlight the new leaves would get as they began growing again from the bottom - leaves in shadow will cause the whole plant to slow down.

13 Oct, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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