London (change)
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11/05/2013 at 12:41

I have a Photinia Red Robin that is about 10' high. It has new growth and leaf in the upper half but very little below. It is now more a tree than a shrub. I know I have neglected it, I should have pruned it long ago. It has had a scattering of general fertiliser each spring. How much do you think I can reduce it by and would you do it now ?  

11/05/2013 at 15:23

...this is certainly the time of year to do it... however you could leave it till a bit later if you wanted... say end of June for instance but not later... the reason I say that is I don't like cutting off all the lovely red shoots that must be showing right now... it's the beauty of the plant...and new shoots need time to harden before autumn...

..I'm not keen on these getting to 10 foot, I prefer 7 or 8 foot max and keep it roughly there... if it was mine I would prune back to about 5 foot, pruning all stems to just above a leaf node where you will see little dormant red buds.... but it's up to you how much to take off....

11/05/2013 at 15:37

I agree with Salino,it would be a pity to prune now when the red shoots are just coming into their own,I would enjoy them and then prune.,They seem fairly tolerant of hard pruning,I have cut mine back by several feet before(I now try to keep on top of it and prune about a foot a year)without any ill effects.

11/05/2013 at 16:55

Thanks Salino & Gilly L. 

Will wait a while and prune hard & keep it in check in future, it grew when I wasn't looking

11/05/2013 at 17:48

Sorry I disagree.  I would prune now.

I prune my Photinias at least twice in summer too.  They are quick to produce new shoots and by pruning back to a pair of buds on each stem you will double up on those lovely red shoots in a few weeks. 

I think the secret with Photinias is to prune when young to create a dense bushy plant. Photinias naturally want to grow tree like and to jettison lower leaves.

You can prune hard....not to be afraid of doing so..but a leggy photinia is an ugly sight I think.  After pruning I feed and water well

12/05/2013 at 08:22

Thank you Verdun.

I think we will prune ASAP as now I've started looking at it I agree it isn't the best of sights.Plus I will keep it looked after.

12/05/2013 at 09:22

I wait until after they flower since the bees goes nuts for it.

12/05/2013 at 09:35

Thanks Wintersong. I have a bee friendly garden so I'm sure they'll be ok. If I prune now I think I'll still get new growth that will flower. To be honest I've never noticed the flowers, obviously there as berries follow, never given it at thought.

20/05/2013 at 14:36

I also have a Red Robin, it's part of a loose 'hedge' consisting of different plants that just break up the view into my living room but is really not dense at all, and actually I'm wondering if I was sold a dud. I've got branches that are two feet long and only have a clump of leaves at the end, nothing along the branch, plus a lot of the trunk has no branches at all.

I assume the usual rule of thumb applies, i.e. cut just above a leaf, but what if there aren't any to cut above?

It's shooting nicely now at the ends, but it's really too open. I'd appreciate any advice on how to thicken it up - preferably without having to cut it down to the ground and start again . Oh, it's probably 6 or 7 feet tall and I don't need it to get much taller than that. Thanks.

20/05/2013 at 19:10

You can cut back hard photinias.  For appearance sake....for now....cut back selected lanky stems hard and leave others unpruned.  In a few weeks do the same with the other branches when cut ones have new leaves

20/05/2013 at 19:49

Verdun mine got a big haircut, fed and watered and is now after only a week looking more lively. Will keep it in check in future.

Wintersong the bees are busy on the honesty & honeysuckle. So good result all round. Thanks all for info.

20/05/2013 at 19:59

Are Pink Marble Photinias as vigorous?! Man in garden ctr told me they were much smaller and could be better kept in check in a small garden - bloomi' hope he was right 

20/05/2013 at 23:54

Hiya jess

Not sure that pink marble Photinias are any less vigorous  I have one, bought 18 months ago, and I determined from the start to prune it hard to keep control of its size.  This year it's very bushy and very colourful.  In a few weeks I will again prune it hard.

There is actually a small photinia...little red robin.  This is smaller in leaf size too but, again, I prune it back.

21/05/2013 at 09:59

uh-oh  so he LIED!!!! thanks Verdun - when do you prune back your Pink Marble, can I ask? mine's so pretty with new foliage at the moment that I'm reluctant to! It's only about a foot high.

01/06/2013 at 06:57

Thanks Verdun, I"ll chop back some of the lanky stems. Will it get upset if I cut it repeatedly, i.e. a few branches this month and a few next and so on? By the way, it doesn't get a huge amount of sun, so I would expect regrowth to be relatively slow.

01/06/2013 at 07:13

Morning karen

I think that will be fine.  With this warmer weather growth will quicken

09/06/2013 at 17:16

Excellent, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the support.

09/06/2013 at 19:22

I cut back my Red Robin hard back in September without any ill effects.  It started putting out red stems/leaves in March and hasn't stopped since.  Its now bigger then it was in September, I'm sure.  I have been thinking about trimming it back now, but suspect I will be doing it again in September as the thing just won't stand still for five minutes.

24/06/2013 at 20:25


We have three red robins which have just finished flowering but over the past year have become very thin and leggy. 

They are about 8-9 feet tall and when we initially planted them you could not see the fence behind.


 Would you advise us to give them a good prune now to encourage new growth?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as they are looking a little sorry for themselves.


24/06/2013 at 20:34

Please read my earlier post. After pruning mine it is now producing new shoots off all branches. Still leggy but will reduce in gentle stages. Happy I did it.

Brett yours looks well compared to what mine looked like.

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