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What kind of shrub is this?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I would like to know what kind of shrub this is so I can find out when I can prune it drastically.2012 Christmas 075.JPG

post #2 of 9

Can you post a close-up photo of the leaves?  That would give us more to work with.  Does is flower? Is it evergreen?

post #3 of 9

 Not sure where you live, but now is a good time to do those things.  For some shrubs, like flowering shrubs, people want to preserve the flowers each year and that can indicate exactly when to prune, but if you need to prune drastically that is just not necessary to be so precise.   The heat of summer and the sun can scorch tender, new growth, so pruning now will give the shrub a chance to regrow and the new leaves to harden off before the summer sun beats down on it.  It will need loads of extra water a through the season.


You might be wondering why I'm not necessarily encouraging precise identification and proper pruning?  The sad fact is that unless this shrub is placed to screen the porch from the sun or to create privacy, it is (they are) woefully misplaced.  Shrubs with small leaves and vigorous growth are (in general but not always) good candidates for surviving and tolerating butchery-- I mean heavy pruning and hedging.  It's either that or removal.  


Cass Turnbull is our "local", famous pruning maven, and she has written several excellent books on pruning.  They are well worth searching out if her books are not as readily available where you are.  (They are just about everywhere in our region.)

post #4 of 9
Up close pictures would be better.

As rule, prune shrubs just after flowering and only take off one third of the foliage at any given time. Generally, it will take several years to re-shape old hedges like the one shown.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Here is a pic of the leaves2012 Christmas 077.JPG

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

And also it does not flower. I live around Charlotte, North Carolina Sweetsilver if that helps.

post #7 of 9


Edited by SweetSilver - 2/19/12 at 5:31pm
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

It looks like it could be in the Privet family but I'm not sure.  I've wanted to cut these back drastically for a couple of years but wasn't sure when.  They need to be cut back so the inner can fill back up.

post #9 of 9

Pretty sure a kind of privet--wax-leaved or probably L. ovalifolium.  The variety "Aureum" is the one with the golden edges.  (Thank you dh and my Sunset Garden Book!)  Privets take handily to shearing into hedges, though I'm personally not as fond of this because there are tighter-looking hedging plants *and* privet has such beautiful blossoms that honey bees adore (as well as annoyingly messy black berries--not something you'd want dropping onto the porch!)


If you want the hedged/ sheared look, you good use some good loppers to cut these shrubs back to inner branches, about 1 foot or so inside where the finished shrub should be.  It will grow back, I promise, and yes, it is hard on it but privet is a trooper.  Or you could prune it like philomom suggested, slowly opening the center up to more light and making a more natural looking shrub (you can do this even if you want it sheared).  In that case, you are looking at 3 or 4 years to achieve the perfect shape.  Sounds like a long time, but is easier on the plant and will give you a more natural shape. You could also whack it to the ground and thin it to several stalks and let it grow to it's full height (up to 15 feet).  


Is this shrub useful for shade on the porch, a windbreak or privacy?  Consider that before hacking away.  I'm not sure a privet is really the best thing right by the porch, but.....


Either way, if your freezy weather is past (and I don't think privet is tender at all so I wouldn't worry) now would be the time for drastic renovation.  Temperatures are mild and it will have a long time to grow and harden its leaves off before the summer sun tries scorching it.



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