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Pruning elaeagnus

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Question from Giles Gostwick


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We have had this shrub in our front garden for at least 15 years and it is now over 6 ft tall and about the same width. It is losing some of the variegation on its leaves. I am wondering when to prune, and how vigorous I can be. I would really like to take at least a foot off all round, but fear this will leave me with little foliage. Can you advise please?

  • Views: 3776
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Fri. 25th February 2011 15:52

Re: Pruning elaeagnus

Reply from Valerie Munro

Eleagnus is such a beautiful plant, especially with the cultivars that have such wonderful variegation. Unfortunately, what can happen over time is that it tends to push out all-green shoots which, if you leave them on the plant, then whole plant could revert back to being all green.

To start with, try and remove all of the complete stems that have turned green. Cut them off at the point where the reversion starts. Inevitably this might reduce the plant quite considerably. But have courage, you can then shorten all other variegated stems to neaten the shape.

However, I think that I would wait for a week or two before resorting to this 'surgery', and don't forget to feed and water well to help it recover from the 'shock'. As the weather warms up, you will be amazed at how quickly new growth will begin.

Good luck
Auntie Planty

  • Posted: Sat. 26th February 2011 19:03

Re: Re: Pruning elaeagnus

Reply from stephanie prior

Great timing - I was just browsing "my plant list" and wondering exactly the same thing as Giles.
Thank you Auntie Planty.

  • Posted: Sat. 5th March 2011 10:23

Time to prune?

Reply from Gremlin

Evergreens should, generally speaking, be pruned during periods of growth, i.e. from the beginning of May in UK. Elaeagnus is very hardy and will probably be ok pruned in spring, but I would wait until early summer. Pruning can continue until September - after this soft new growth can be killed by frosts.

Forget-me-Not Garden Services

  • Posted: Tue. 20th May 2014 10:07