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How to Prune Ligustrum

how to prune ligustrum
Ligustrum (also called privets) are extremely fast growing flowering evergreen shrubs. They are also easy to grow and require no maintenance once they are established. They prefer warmer climates and are literally everywhere here in the Carolinas. Most Ligustrum are recommended for zones 7 to 10, but some varieties like the dwarf Sunshine Ligustrum can grow in growing zone 6 as well. These plants are extremely hardy, resistant to pests, deer, and disease, and tolerate drought, pollution, heat. Privets are often used in home landscapes as a fast growing privacy hedge.
how to prune ligustrum

When to Prune Ligustrum

Privet pruning can be done just about any time of the year. However to avoid the risk of damaging new growth, do not prune in late fall in zones 6 to 8a. Heavy pruning to rejuvenate an older plant or control size is best reserved for late winter or early spring.
tools to prune ligustrum

The Tools To Prune Ligustrum

Electric hedge trimmers are the most efficient tool to trim these bushes, especially if you are creating a Ligustrum hedge (as long as the branches aren’t too thick where you need to trim). Use pruning shears for trimming small branches and loppers for removing large limbs and branches that are hard to reach.
how to prune ligustrum hedge

How to Prune a Ligustrum Hedge

Ligustrum shrubs do not need to be pruned, but they can withstand severe pruning with no ill effects. So if you want to control the height of a privet hedge feel free to trim those babies as much as you like. Simply trim up your bushes to the shape you like with one exception. Do not trim the bottom of your Ligustrum Hedge in at an angle. You want the bottom to be at least as wide as the rest of the bush so it gets sunlight and stays healthy.
rejuvenation pruning for ligustrum

Rejuvenation Pruning for Ligustrum

There are two ways to rejuvenate an older, overgrown Ligustrum shrub.

1. The easiest method is to cut the entire plant back to about 6 to 12 inches from the ground. These plants grow so fast they won’t look small and bare for long!

2. The other method for rejuvenation pruning of a Ligustrum is to follow the rule of 1/3. Prune back ⅓ of the height of your bush and cut back ⅓ of the oldest canes as far back to the ground as possible. This type of pruning should be repeated every year for 3 years until all of the large, old branches are gone. I will be honest with you. I have done this method 2 years in a row with my inherited ancient waxy leaf Ligustrum and I think I am switching to method 1 next year!

prune ligustrum tree form

How to Prune Ligustrum into a Tree Form

Training a Ligustrum bush into a tree is best done when the plant is young. Doing it at this time is less stress on the plant and less work for you ultimately!
 
1. Choose 1 to 3 of the thickest branches to be your trunk or trunks.
2. Remove all other branches and any growth on the lower portion of the chosen trunks.
3. Maintain your Ligustrum tree yearly by pruning off any lateral branches that are less than 4 feet from the ground to shape your canopy.

Now that you know How to Prune Ligustrum, check out our selection of Ligustrum.

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