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Somerset, United Kingdom Gb

Pruning help please! Hello, I've recently moved to a new house. In the garden are some bushes that have been "bun-pruned" - presumably with an electric hedge trimmer. I don't like this style of pruning. Is it possible to gradually (or even drastically) change the shape of the bushes to a more natural, airy shape? When should I do any pruning to shape them, and how? Some of the bushes had to be cut back a few weeks ago to improve visibility reversing out of the driveway.

I don't know what most of the bushes are (could be forsythia, philadelphus) There's a Viburnum bodnantense that's too big and a Magnolia stellata that I particularly would like to rescue/ reshape.

Thanks, more questions to come....

Mystery_bush_5 Magnolia_2 Mystery_bush_1



You could trim the bushes to below the bun pruning or remove say a third a year over the next 3 years .

It isn't that easy to see from your photos but the first may well be a phildelphus and the second could be a magnolia.

Magnolias do not like being pruned!

17 Feb, 2012


Somebody has been unkind to that magnolia but as it has lots of flower buds it seems to have recovered. Unless anybody has better advice I would leave well alone this year and perhaps next year thin out some of the twiggy stuff in the middle.
The winter jasmine would probably respond well to having lots of the older stems cut out altogether and it should throw up more from the base.
Taking out a third of the others each year is a good approach to the others. If you remove it all at once you might well end up with another bun.

17 Feb, 2012


Thank you both. I think I'll remove a third of the shoots this year then and any obviously dead wood. Any advice as to when to do this would be welcome.

When SHOULD Viburnum bodnantense & Philadelphus be pruned please? As the come into leaf in the spring or after flowering?

I felt VERY sorry for that poor little Magnolia too, Steragram. It seems to have responded quite well though.

17 Feb, 2012


Philadelphus should be pruned immediately after flowering.

17 Feb, 2012


For Viburnum bodnantense . After flowering, prune established specimens, removing up to one in five of the oldest and weakest branches to the base. Harder pruning will keep the plant compact

17 Feb, 2012


The general rule for pruning I use is this:

If it flowers before the end of June, it will do it on wood made last year, so prune immediately after flowering

If it flowers after the end of June, it will do it on new wood made this year, so cut back in early spring

17 Feb, 2012


Thank you all!

17 Feb, 2012


> If it flowers after the end of June, it will do it on new wood made this year, so cut back in early spring

That wouldn't work for philadelphus which flowers in early June.

18 Feb, 2012

How do I say thanks?

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