ligustrum pruning

mgalea(9a)August 7, 2011

I have browsed the many submissions but still have a questions. I'm in SW Florida and have a line of 20yr old ligustrums lining the rear of my property. they are very vigorous growers but I have let them get a little too tall for my liking (10'-12'). they have also become barren in the lower part of them. I want to cut them to 6' to try encourage fuller plants from the ground up. my question is, should I cut the stalks to different lengths? ie: some at 5'-5" some at 6' and some at 6'-6"? also should I take some stocks right down to let's say 1' to encourage growth below? thanks

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I want to cut them to 6' to try encourage fuller plants from the ground up.

==>>> wont work ...

check out the link for rejuvenation pruning

read ALL THE WAY DOWN ... avoid haircut pruning ... and get down to page 9 fig 13 .. renewal pruning ...


Here is a link that might be useful: pdf link

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 12:23PM
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You can cut them all the way to the ground and they will resprout vigorously.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 2:50PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

thats what i would probably do .... unless the view to the neighbors is a severe problem ...

then i might suck it up.. and cut every other one down.. and then next year.. when the cut ones come back vigorously.. i would cut the others down ...

thereby maintaining some semblance of a sight block ...


    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:21PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

This is not the time of year to do any kind of heavy pruning, however. Doing so could cause some serious problems for your plants. Our woody plants need to be concentrating on storing carbon resources at this time of year. That process is essential to winter survival and spring growth. Pruning will stimulate an enormous amount of top growth, diverting all of that energy to making new foliage rather than storage. Make sense?

Ligustrum responds beautifully to a full rejuvenation pruning...take them down to no more than 6 inch stubs in the late winter/very early spring. Do not fertilize your shrubs the first year.

To keep your hedge from behaving this way again, do a little detail pruning every year. Cut a fourth to a third of the stems to varying heights (including some to the ground) to insure fullness.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:55PM
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thanks so much for all the input. Ken, I did print off the article you included thanks. I began the pruning prior to getting any replies but I think I'm on the right track. Have taken some 6" from the ground and cut other to a height of 6'. there is enough of a growing season left here in SW FL to see plenty of new growth before winter. Next spring I will prune the longer stems down. In the case of some if not most of the plants, there are only 2 or 3 main stems so in those cases I pruned to just above the point where a main branches into 2 or 3.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:18AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

That's the issue with heavy pruning at this time of year in your don't WANT 'plenty of new growth' in the late summer/fall. Reasons stated above.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 4:32PM
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I am now staring at twig remnants of what use to be 12' majestic sprawling ligustrums. I have to live with my decision to prune before getting feedback even though there is conflicting info. I am hoping their hardiness gets them through the cooler months (Dec-Feb) and in the early spring I will assess and prune accordingly.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 1:21PM
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I'll bet that they'll be fine. I pruned mine down to little tiny nubs last fall, only to watch them get covered by the incredible snow we had. They started sprouting from every square inch in April, and now they're back to about 3 very bushy feet (and I've trimmed them twice). Mine were 18' - 20' sprawling feet, and I've still got the wood laying by the driveway. To give you an idea of how tough privet is, several of the big trunks sprouted leaves in the spring, even though they had been cut down months before; they're like Rasputin.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 5:38PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

One thing that our original poster has to deal with is that in her USDA zone, her/his plants have lots of time to put out a lot of new growth between now and when her/his plant might start to go dormant for the winter. Heavy pruning in the later summer/fall in the warmer climates can be detrimental for plants.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 1:01AM
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