Eleagnus fragrans- old and full of sticks inside.

Min3 South S.F. Bay CAApril 12, 2014

My wonderful eleagnus is 20 years old at least and has been left untrimmed for its whole life. Now it is about 15' x 15' and only the thin outside layer has green leaves- the inside is all bare branches. Has it lived it's full life and should I get rid of it or can I cut it back severely and hope it will sprout again?
Thanks, Min

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

of copurse it is.. thats how they grow ..

google: rejuvenation pruning of flowering shrubs...

learn up ... and come back if you want some specific information

you could literally run this thing over with a truck.. it does not have a finite life.. as you suggest ...


    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 1:54PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

Are you saying it has an infinite life, Ken- that 20 years isn't old for it? That I can cut it almost to the ground- (10") and it will come back?
I have never dealt with this particular kind of shrub before and we're not getting any younger (me or the shrub) so i don't want to waste time "waiting and seeing" when what I should do is plant another one right now. I need it for privacy. (I did try to get info on the web- no luck.) Thx again, Min

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:37AM
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I have one about 17 years old. Not sure it's the same variety you have. Anyway, it just wasn't getting enough light, and became very leggy and unattractive. It was perhaps 8' tall. Three years ago, I removed the plant blocking the sun, and cut it back to about 3' tall. It responded vigorously, and is now 7' tall, very bushy, and quite attractive. I don't think you can kill these things, really.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:53AM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

Thanks a lot, whitecap- you have given me the confidence to cut it back and see what happens. I wonder if I should do it now or wait 'til winter? Min

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:03PM
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I'd cut immediately, to get the benefit of spring growth.

Sure you have elaeagnus fragrans? That seems to be something of a rarity. Is your plant deciduous? If not, perhaps you have elaeagnus pungens, which is what I think I have.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 9:59PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

I was guessing at the kind it is because it is incredibly fragrant- I can smell it over the whole yard when those tiny little flowers bloom. Maybe that also explains 'pungens'.
It's not deciduous.
OK, I will cut it down to 3 feet and will be very unhappy until it comes back as good as new- I will lose lots of privacy and the California Thrasher will be mad at me because he likes to very quietly practice his love songs in it. Min

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Well, if it's 15' tall, 3' might be overdoing it. I'd just cut it to the desired shape. You should get new growth wherever you cut, provided you don't make cuts flush with a primary trunk. You can kind of feel your way, and do some additional pruning next spring, if necessary.

Mine made some small, oblong fruit this spring, for the first time ever. Or perhaps I just never noticed them before.

Spellcheck and Webster's seem to be at odds over the correct spelling of this plant.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:29PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

I have been looking more on the web and I think you are right to advise cutting it less. If all goes well, I will still have some (low) privacy and if it croaks, I can replant next spring. While I cut, I will apologize profusely to it in hopes of encouragement. It's been here so long it is almost a pet.
Where are you? our N Ca spring is nearly over- everything came at least two weeks early here this year. Min

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:41PM
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I'm in San Antonio, where spring was slow in coming. I wouldn't worry about new growth on that plant, though. Just shoot some water to it, and perhaps some fertilizer for evergreens.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:55AM
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