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Can you identify this bush, and how should I cut it back?
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# 1
jonny2510
Old 22-02-2013, 1:31 PM
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Default Can you identify this bush, and how should I cut it back?

We have this bush (see pics below) on the side of our house that we want to cut back drastically.

It's around 150 cm deep (from the front to the wall) and we'd ideally like it to be 1/2 of that (75cm).

  • Can anyone identify this bush?
  • Can I just hack it back (to 1/2 it's current depth)? - or do I need to be more careful/methodical?
  • Is now the right time of year to do it?
  • Does anyone know when it should start budding?
I'm worried I'll just be left with a woody mess / dead bush!



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# 2
Leif
Old 22-02-2013, 2:22 PM
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I think that is a Cotoneaster. They take pruning well, in fact I butchered one at the side of my house, and it grew back beautifully. Google for better information, and by looking at photos you should be able to confirm if it is Cotoneaster, and which species.
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# 3
Mojisola
Old 22-02-2013, 2:55 PM
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Yes, Cotoneaster.

It will look bare and woody after pruning but it will be a surprise if it doesn't quickly green up in the Spring.

Trim back regularly to keep it at the size you want it to stay at.
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# 4
sobie
Old 22-02-2013, 5:00 PM
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Yep its Cotoneaster.

Please don't cut it back until the birds have eaten all the berries. Other than that you can do what you like to it, tough as old boots plant.
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# 5
Leif
Old 22-02-2013, 5:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sobie View Post
Yep its Cotoneaster.

Please don't cut it back until the birds have eaten all the berries. Other than that you can do what you like to it, tough as old boots plant.
Stupid question, but do they really eat them? I had several Cotoneaster, and the berries seemed to remain on them. If they really do eat them, I might be tempted to plant some new ones (in a new site). Birds are good, even if their poo sows weeds.
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# 6
jonny2510
Old 22-02-2013, 5:26 PM
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Many thanks for all the replies. Just what I wanted to hear
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# 7
jonny2510
Old 22-02-2013, 5:45 PM
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I've just done some more reading and am confused again!!!

Having never really pruned a shrub before, I'm a little confused. My plan was to take a hedge trimmer to it, and just cut it right back to the shape I wanted (leaving a kind of flat, cut back hedge).

However, after doing some reading, people seem to be referring to pruning/cutting back main branches and something about lateral branches!

Can anyone explain to a dummy(!) the steps I should follow?
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# 8
Leif
Old 22-02-2013, 6:39 PM
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Depends. I took a hedge trimmer to my flowering quince, and it bounced back beautifully. I did the same to a Cotoneaster, it worked a treat. Some say hand pruning is better. For trees, you do need to hand prune, in order to shape the growth.
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# 9
cjb02
Old 22-02-2013, 6:39 PM
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cotoneaster are very difficult to kill off, so I would go with the original plan and take the hedge trimmer to it. It will take it very well and grow well this coming year. depending on the variety, pollinators (bees) like the flowers. so a good plant.
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# 10
jonny2510
Old 23-02-2013, 8:30 AM
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Thanks for that. It looks like I've got some work to do this weekend
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# 11
jonny2510
Old 23-02-2013, 6:53 PM
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Now I've enlisted some help (), can anyone identifier the other two shrubs along the same wall as my Contoneaster, as they're due a trim too!





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# 12
Mojisola
Old 23-02-2013, 9:16 PM
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The grey one used to called Senecio - yet another plant that has been renamed - http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plant...ages/102.shtml

Cut back as hard as you like - just leave stems a few inches long.
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# 13
sobie
Old 23-02-2013, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leif View Post
Stupid question, but do they really eat them? I had several Cotoneaster, and the berries seemed to remain on them. If they really do eat them, I might be tempted to plant some new ones (in a new site). Birds are good, even if their poo sows weeds.
starlings & thrushes love them, Red berries go first. You probably had something more tempting in the garden at the time the berries where on the bush, or maybe you don't have any starlings/ thrushes in your garden.

And as others have said the flowers are great for bees too.
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# 14
sobie
Old 23-02-2013, 11:35 PM
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think the red stemed one might be a Escallonia (sorry I can't find a good link)

The grey leaved is brachyglottis (previously called Senecio)

Both can be pruned as much as you like.
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# 15
Mojisola
Old 24-02-2013, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sobie View Post
think the red stemed one might be a Escallonia
I agree - Escallonia. It's a very variable plant - from evergreens to deciduous, large leaved to small, flowers from white through to dark red. Compare your plant at various stages of the year and you should be able to narrow down its identity.

Last edited by Mojisola; 24-02-2013 at 11:17 AM.
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# 16
m13r13c13
Old 25-02-2013, 8:22 AM
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Back to the Cotoneaster, we were lucky enough to have had a couple of Goldcrest visit ours. In flower it was buzzing with lots of different insects, not just bees. Lovely. Although this winter it has turned brown and not looking to great but hope it will return to it's former glory in the spring.
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# 17
tejsmith
Old 25-02-2013, 11:48 AM
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If you're lucky, you might even get Waxwing on your Cotoneaster - definitely would be worth leaving the berries for that!
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# 18
whitesatin
Old 25-02-2013, 2:17 PM
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This year was the first time we saw birds eating the berries on our cotoneaster. We thought naybe because the weather has been so cold.
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# 19
jonny2510
Old 10-03-2013, 6:45 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. After 2 weekends work, 3 garden wheelie bins full of cuttings/branches, and about another 3 bins worth of cuttings left over, the job's more or less done!

Now I just have to hope it grows back
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# 20
Leif
Old 10-03-2013, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonny2510 View Post
Now I just have to hope it grows back
It will unless you have real talent. I tried to kill one in a border. No chance. I left a stump in place, so I knew it would survive.
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