novice gardener needs help identifying, pruning and caring for shrub


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Hi, this is my first post about a shrub. I'm in Suffolk County NY (zone 6B). We've had this shrub since we moved in, although it may have been moved from another side of the house. It leans forward so maybe it wasn't replanted deep enough. Also sadly I don't recall ever cutting it. Now the sections are falling apart from each other (with a hole in the middle), and there is one small section that isn't doing so well. I'm about to plant something next to it so I'd like to cut it down in size, and hopefully revitalize it. My questions are: When is the best time to do this? How much can / should I cut off? And should I cut off the entire bad section, or just cut it down like the rest of it and leave it be? Thanks!


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Brandie

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I've cut shrubs like that all the way back before and cleared any dead branches. It won't take long for it to start growing back and then you can shape, prune it more easily. Loppers should do the trick. Or hedge trimmers. Then clear by hand any debris. Kinda reminds me of boxwood.
 
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Thank you! Yes i've seen boxwood at local nurseries and thought the same thing. So you don't think it matters when I cut it back - summer vs. fall? I know there is very specific advice for when to cut back perrenials... I would like to cut it back now.
 
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I also live in Suffolk, on LI. That looks like snow damage from previous years. You'll have to get in there to cut out all the damaged branches. If you are going to try to cut it back, select a few branches to bring it back to the shape you want. If you try to shear it into shape keep in mind those leaves don't go very deep into the plant, and are pretty slow growers. You could wind up with a very naked looking bush for quite some time.
Me personally, I would pull it, and find something that fits a little better in that spot.
 

Brandie

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Agree^ If it is boxwood...they takes forever to grow back And for some, they are used in art. If it were me, I would clear out the dead area, watch it for a couple of weeks... If it hasn't grown quickly, I would take it out too... Or shape it into an animal!
 
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@LIcenter @Brandie Thank you both. The leaves go about halfway down the branches. I cut out the dead branches and cut down the one side I wanted to plant an azalea next to, just enough to make a little room. I will cut it down more all around over time, but I think I am going to keep it for now, otherwise I will have a LARGE space to fill!
 
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