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By Davidk

United Kingdom Gb

Rhus typhina - how much to prune?

We have inherited a couple of rhus in the front garden which are attractive but now very 'leggy', so we want to reduce them ideally so that they recover to 5 feet or so. They are currently about 10-12 feet high, same spread, main stems 2-3 inches diameter.

The gardening books are conflicting - one says prune to ground in February-April, the other says prune to 1 foot from the ground in February. We are wary because an adjacent previously pruned-to-the ground stump appears dead!

We don't want to kill ours, we appreciate that pruning may increase suckering. Once cut back, how quickly do they grow back? Any advice welcomed!

On plant Rhus



These can be renovated by cutting all stems to near ground level in the spring, removing any suckering shoots that arise around the base of the plant. Or you can remove one-in-three of the oldest stems each year for three years until the whole shrub has been rejuvenated. You may find that both your trees come from one originally. Personally I would prune less drastically because they can sucker quite a lot. Just take each branch back to where you think it looks better and remove any suckers you find. I have to tell you I had one once it suckered everywhere after I had pruned it, never again

10 Feb, 2010


One of those plants that should come with a government health warning in my opinion.

10 Feb, 2010


Many thanks for the suggestion. We're cowards, and these Rhus don't sound like they will be beaten. I think that we'll leave them as they are for this year, because they are not suckering too much (and they are well away from boundaries & house etc), and when we get fed up with them, we'll cut them down and try SBK or Roundup to finish them off, although it doesn't sound like they give up easily! Shame, they are attractive.

10 Feb, 2010

How do I say thanks?

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