Help-Mock Orange accident

kadasuki(z6 NW AR)May 7, 2012

Hi Forum

My mother just called in tears and said her handi-man just pruned her 8 foot tall 25 year old mock oranges to a foot tall. Will they die, what can we do to salvage these beautiful old fragrant shrubs?

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

They will be fine. Probably even do them some good in the long term. Ideally they would have been regularly pruned in sections for rejuvenation but a radical haircut will not hurt them.

But one has to question what sort of a 'handyman' it is who cuts down people's shrubs without discussion and doesn't know how to look after a very common species.

Google 'rejuvenation pruning' to find out how they should be maintained in future.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:59AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

sounds perfect.. but for the loss of this years bloom ...

these are 'run it over with the truck' shrubs.. they will regrow.. WITH VIGOR ...

unfortunately.. it should have been done .. just after flowering ...

are we sure on the ID .. 25 feet on a philadelphius ??? i can believe 25 feet wide.. but that tall????


    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:18AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Though I recommend rejuvenation pruning on a regular basis, I would never do so for such a mature specimen.

The older the plant is, the more difficult it is to recover from a rejuvenation pruning. It 's stressful enough for a vigorous, young plant. I would give this plant no guarantee, but hope for the best.
Just as we measly humans find it more difficult to recover from a traumatic injury as we do plants (and other living things) .

I hope that she makes it crystal clear to the handy man that she is terribly upset. She should also make it perfectly understood that the pruning of ANYthing is not acceptible without specific instructions on a plant-per-plant basis.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:36AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

ken - 8 feet tall, 25 years old.

rhizo - I reckon they'll recover even at that age. But my opinion may be coloured by the climate I garden in where shrubs do not have to contend with excessive heat and get ample natural moisture. I wouldn't necessarily recommend such radical treatment of older specimens but now it's done I don't think it will hurt them.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 10:58AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I'd send him down the road.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:00AM
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Even a very old Mock Orange can take that kind of severe pruning and bounce right back. No worries. Sorry about this year's flowers, though. :(

Granted, if it were like most other shrubs then a pruning that severe to a shrub that old would be cause for concern, but not a Mock Orange. They're tough as nails and like Ken said, it'll probably really appreciate it and bounce back, plus!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 1:46PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the key .. besides carefully reading the facts.. lol ...

is that it has a 25 year old root system.. and now.. 6 inch stubs.. thats a lot of energy potential .. and i would not be surprised if the thing isnt near 4 feet tall by fall ... and fill back in completely within 2 to 3 years ...

dont worry about the plant ...


    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 4:27PM
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