Photinia Rejuvenation Pruning

Asked January 22, 2015, 5:11 PM EST

I've cut the photinia back to four feet as previously discussed and am now ready to do the detailed work. I have several plants (65 feet total) that are roughly 35 years old, and I want to make sure it's done correctly. As you can see from the attached photos, the plants are a tangle of branches in the center, and most of them look like this. Am I correct that I need to "open them up" in the middle? If so, how do I select which branches to totally remove, and which ones to leave? What is the end result I'm looking for? Thank you for your time and patience.

Josephine County Oregon

1 Response

You can remove crossing branches to open it up in the middle. This helps air circulation to keep down diseases. Be careful when pruning on the outside that you keep the bottom of the plant as wide or wider than the top. This ensures that your plant will stay green all the way down. The following advice comes from an OSU publication:

First cut out dead, disease, injured, weak and

twiggy growth.

• Next remove shoots or twigs that are growing

in the wrong direction, getting out of

bounds, or crowding and crossing other


• Finally finish the job by thinning out where

necessary for even spacing of branches, ease

of spraying, and to maintain moderate growth

Your pictures look like your plants are well on their way to be more manageable. If you want them to get hedge size, just prune lightly every year to shape.