Hard pruning foundation shrub.

Asked March 11, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT

We have some foundation plants in front of our house. Although we have clipped them, they always seem to grow a little more than we clip. Now they are more than 4 feet tall, and I would like to prune them back to around 2 feet. The shrubs are more than 40 years old. Although the exterior is bushy and full, the stems are thick and woody. The plants are evergreen and do not flower. I'm guessing they may be a type of boxwood, but I am not sure . I am attaching a picture of the shrub and a close up of the foliage. Can you tell me if they are a plant that can be hard pruned? If so, when is the best time to do it? How long will it take for them to look decent after I prune? Thank you. Diane Fishman

Howard County Maryland pruning shrubs

2 Responses

Your shrub looks like a kind of holly which should tolerate being pruned back severely. It is hard to say how fast it will take to look good. It may take over a year or more. Now (early spring) would be the best time for hard pruning. Keep in mind if you want it to be two feet tall, you should prune it back to 18 inches. One possibility would be to cut a few branches back to 18 inches this year and next year prune some more back. This way you never have a completely scalped plant. Another possibility is to simply remove the plant and plant your new plants between the windows instead of in front of them. http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG84_Pruning%20ornam... vw

Thanks so much!