Chop Chop

Now you see it Wm


This Pieris has not had it easy.

We removed two large shrubs, half dead, to the left of it. The poor thing still bears the scars. It is leggy and leaning. And totally out of proportion to the rest of the bed. Extensive research suggests that pieris can be hard pruned, to encourage bushy growth. ย There are already a couple of new shoots, which you can just see, at the base of the trunk.

Will it work?

I hope so.


Now you don't Wm


2017-11-11T22:02:18+00:00April 18th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. the veg artist April 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    I’m of the “cut it back – if it survives, it survives” school of gardening. Our garden can be over-lush (!) in the summer, so we tend to be a bit brutal when we do cut back, but we never cut back on more than 1/3 of trees or shrubs in any one year. That way, we avoid the scalped look!

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      I think I scalped this one.. !

  2. Vera April 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I am sure that Pieris will bless you forever, and will thrust forward this Spring to show just how it appreciates the trim!

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      The new shoots are still looking OK, so fingers crossed..

  3. haggiz April 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    I think you did the right thing, and even if it doesn’t survive you are left with a fabulous view! Julie x

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      It does make that area look a lot bigger doesn’t it?

  4. Countryside Tales April 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    It better had do now eh?!

    M chopped our ancient apple back (it had been neglected for years) and it was fabulous the following year, so finger’s crossed for you.

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks CT. I think this is called ‘renovation pruning’!!

  5. snowbird April 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Now you see it, now you don’t. I hope it comes back, a couple of years ago my bay dies in the snow but shoots have grown back so I’m sure it will do well.xxxx

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      I’ve waited several months until what is supposed to be the right time to do it, so here’s hoping.

  6. Paula @ Spoons n Spades April 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    How brave! I’m pretty sure it will thank you for the chop though, especially if you had new shoots showing.

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      If it hadn’t been for the new shoots I doubt I would have been so brave!

  7. frayed at the edge April 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I think I would prefer to lose a plant, rather than be constantly annoyed by its not looking right.

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      It did look rather odd. I may still need to move it, if I don’t succeed in keeping it compact.

  8. Pats. April 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    I think that has really opened up a lovely vista. Right plant, right place, in the proportional sense. No doubt Monsieur le pheasant will have other ideas and the squib will jump into empty air!

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      It’s really strange, he came over all protective over it. But I can’t see how it can have been a roost. It was fairly spindly and wouldn’t have supported his weight.

  9. Sue April 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Now that’s what you call ‘hard pruning’….lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      I have the bug now.. looking for other shrubs in need of ‘renovation’…

  10. Denise April 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I hope this goes for trees, too!

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      I shall talk to it Denise. That ought to do it.

  11. Janet/Plantaliscious April 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    I’m a big fan of this sort of drastic pruning, it works more often than not, I reckon your pieris will be a much happier plant for its drastic haircut. I’m hoping the same is true for the mahonia that I have tried to rescue in a similar fashion…

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Mahonia is tough too. I dug up several sections last year, some with very little root left attached at all, and at least half of them survived. Fingers crossed!

  12. elaine April 18, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Now that’s what I call pruning – drastic pruning. Hope it recovers.

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      I’m wondering if I should have taken some cuttings…

  13. Judith April 19, 2013 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Good move, Jessica. The pieris will either survive or not, but the new perspective on that bed and view and what you might do next is worth it. Cutting it down ompletely changes the balance and possibilities for the area. Inspired pruning!

    • Jessica April 19, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

      It’s funny, looking at the bed now it feels as though the Pieris was never there, even though we’ve lived with it like that all winter. Proportion and balance restored.

  14. elizabethm April 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    I am sure it will be fine. Pieris, rhododendron, azalea, camellia – all seem to thrive on a really hard prune. I was nervous of doing it until I went to the gardens at Bodnant and found the camellias seriously shorn! Mind you I have got it wrong from time to time and tried the treatment on things that don’t like it at all. A hebe I had just turned up its toes!

    • Jessica April 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the advice… the camellia is next up then. As soon as it has finished flowering anyway!

  15. Wendy April 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    I’m sure it will grow strong again. My husband is always better at cutting trees and shrubs back than I am; I always get a bit alarmed by the amount of leaves and branches that end up in the pile around the roots. But it’s usually the right decision and it is wonderful seeing the healthy regrowth.

    • Jessica April 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      We bought the house from an elderly couple who, understandably enough, hadn’t done much for the last few years. Crikey.. I am 35 years younger and struggling! There are a lot of shrubs I’m now eyeing up..

  16. Annie @ knitsofacto April 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Just trying to catch up with everyone.

    Good luck with the pruning … I’m a firm believe in cutting things right back, and it’s always worked so far.

    • Jessica April 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      If a plant is in the wrong place then what do you have to lose? If it’s pruned or moved it at least stands a chance.

  17. Heda April 20, 2013 at 7:32 am - Reply

    Wow, that’s a boy prune! No doubt it will be fine.

    • Jessica April 20, 2013 at 9:28 am - Reply

      The shoots are still sprouting their vivid red new leaves, which must be a good sign.

  18. My Life In Sweden April 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    The view sure improved after you cut it down, too bad it had to go though. Hope it works.

    • Jessica April 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      We’ve had some rain today and the shoots seem to have grown some more. Looking good..

  19. My Life In Sweden April 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Nice natural bridge there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jessica April 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      The tree across the river? As long as our neighbour’s cows don’t use it to cross.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. Justine April 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Well, you certainly went for it! As my Mum always says ‘It’s got two chances’, by which she means it will either live or it will die…

    • Jessica April 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      If this doesn’t stimulate new growth, nothing will!

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