Pruning Photinia Red Robin – is it necessary?
If you want a formal hedge and/or to keep its size proportionate to your garden, Photinia Red Robin must be pruned, especially during the early stages. The good news is that it is easy to keep in shape and to size and the plant responds well to both hard and regular pruning.
However, if you want it to grow as nature intended, pruning is not necessary. Let it be and in as little as seven years you will be enjoying a bushy and spectacular shrub reaching out around 4m in every direction. If this appeals and you have the space, you could even plant them in a row to create an impressive, if informal, hedge. It is a truly spectacular specimen plant,
Pruning Photinia Red Robin – The basics
Pruning Photinia Red Robin requires neither special tools nor complicated techniques. Basically, you cut off the bits you don’t want. Just follow these tips:
- Prune once or twice annually to keep your Photinia Red Robin tidy and to maintain its desired size. It’s no slouch!
- More regular pruning will encourage new – stunningly red – growth
- Photinia Red Robin can be pruned into a formal shape. It really does make a spectacular, formal geometric hedge
- Trimming the top of the plant will also encourage growth right at its base where Photinias can be slower growing
Pruning Photinia Red Robin – When
Established Plants: Like other evergreens, Photinia Red Robin should not be pruned when it’s dormant. The first opportunity is therefore at the start of the growing season which means, subject to late frosts, late March to early April. With weather patterns so erratic it is better to be led by the plant, rather than simply following the calendar regardless. Wait until the first of the new foliage has turned from red to green – generally about six weeks into the new season. Thereafter, you can prune with some vigour every time the foliage goes from red to green and on to a dull bronze.
Young Plants: The only exception is when your Photinia Red Robin is newly planted or yet to fully establish itself. While the odd straggling shoot can be trimmed away (cut just above a leaf), give it time to settle before administering a major prune – though if your aim is to create a standard size hedge, don’t leave it too long. Counter-intuitively, leave it for up to three seasons if your plan is to create a smaller (c.1m tall) hedge or specimen.
Last Prune or Trim: It is best to give the plant the time for new shoots encouraged by pruning to toughen up before there is a chance of frosts. Late August will be fine, early September a bit of a gamble – but if you prune much later, you will have a semi-bare hedge until late spring
Pruning Photinia Red Robin – Technique & Tools
While some books talk of precision pruning, cutting every stem carefully just above a leaf node, this really is not necessary. Indeed, you can safely use an electric hedge trimmer rather than hand shears if you prefer.
Really Severe Pruning: A Photinia Red Robin that’s got out of control or simply too large can be cut right back to 60cm above the ground with no ill effect. The best time for this kind of tough love is May – it will be growing vigorously and have plenty of time to recover and re-establish before winter sets in.
PS: Never waste cut foliage. Bring it indoors and use in flower arrangements!
PPS: And don’t forget to keep your secateurs, shears etc. clean!
We stock Photinia Red Robins all year round, in a range of heights – from 45 – 150cm. Browse our range of available plants to get started on your beautiful hedge or bush today.