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in Problem solving
I have recently moved to a house with a very neglected garden. Amongst the "out of control" plants is a large specimen of the above bush which is smothering everything else around it. My question is, can I prune this hard back & if so, at what time of year?
I would imagine because it's an evergreen you should be able to prune hard in spring, after the frosts have passed - this should allow time for the new growth to harden before next winter. You will be cutting off this years flowers but I'd imagine from the sounds of it that that is the least of your worries. You may already know this but prune to a new axil, branch or bud where you can and keep a good frame work and shape, encouraging the next shoots to go where you will be happy with them. On a side note have a think about the plant itself, whether you actually like it or not and could there be anything else you could change it for - maybe something a little lighter on its feet.
If you do decide to cut it back hard please do it before the bird's start nesting as overgrown bushes of Lonicera Nitida are favoured nesting sites for all sorts of birds. You could cut most of it back and leave a few older stems to take cuttings from in July or August and when they grow dig out the old one , replant the new and keep it pruned how you want it. This plant makes a lovely neat hedge which looks very like Box but grows much faster, it can also be used to cut into Topiary if you like it. It is very tolerant and easy going but Baggen's Gold needs sun to bring out it's colour.