Will these shrubs survive if they're severely cut back (pic)?


Over 30 yrs ago, shrubs were planted at the entrance to my subdivision (metro Atlanta) and for a while they were maintained well. We don't have an HOA so after a while, caring for them was hit or miss and they grew and grew and are over 10 ft tall and probably 7-8 ft thick. Our subd sign has to have major repairs and to get to it easily -- plus to SEE it once it's refurbished -- these shrubs have to be severely cut back. I trimmed out some of it today just to see what the trimming is going to look like. Here you see the brown behind the leaves. When this is done all over the shrubs, and once sun is hitting all that exposed brown, won't new leaves grow so it will look ok after a while? The second photo shows the very top of these shrubs which are too high even to trim the top.

q will these shrubs survive if they re severely cut back
q will these shrubs survive if they re severely cut back
  10 answers
  • Joa5018848 Joa5018848 on Aug 04, 2019

    yes cut it down

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Aug 04, 2019

    It needs more than a trim, they need major work. A professional landscaping company should be able to evaluate the growth and properly do the work to restore health to your shrubs. The brown area is dead and needs to be removed, for sure.

  • Mary lu Mary lu on Aug 04, 2019

    it could be cut down to 1-2 feet. it might look bad for a while but will recover and branch out with new leaves.

  • DebraY DebraY on Aug 04, 2019

    Yes, but then down. They will grow back.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 04, 2019

    Hello Louise,

    I would say employ a Company of Gardeners to do this properly for you, and to give you some advice on how to maintain them for the future.........

  • Shirley Hearn Shirley Hearn on Aug 04, 2019

    The shrubs in front of our house had gotten out of control and grown so tall that my husband couldn't reach the top without a ladder. He finally decided to take a chain saw and cut them back to about 4' tall. They looked bare for a while but then came back nice and full.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 04, 2019

    Your shrubs/bushes can be cut down and will grow back better than before. Cut them as low as 15-18" from the ground and they'll be fine within 6 months and will be like a fresh start. Probably the easiest way to do this is to get a small chain saw (maybe rent), place stakes in the ground at each end of the row of bushes and tie a piece of twine or light rope to one stake across to the other at the height you want to cut. Then use that as a guide for cutting it all the height you want. As the bushes grow back they'll not look so blunt but will look great.

  • SC SC on Aug 04, 2019

    The shrub is eleagnus. It's a rank grower and invasive(birds spread the seeds). A better solution would be to removed the shrubs and replace with a native plant that will take the growing conditions(I'm assuming dry and no watering). You would plant in the fall in Atlanta. Native shrubs may be deciduous(lose their leaves in the winter). There may be some small native hollies that would work. Check the Atlanta Botanical Garden website or others to find the best choice for the site. You would want something that wouldn't grow over about 4 ft for visibility. People plant eleagnus for birds to feed on, but it's terrible choice. It's not native and non-native shrubs don't supply as good a nutrition as native. Wax myrtle would grow here, but it would need pruned twice a year. it's native and has berries for the birds.

  • MGMN MGMN on Aug 04, 2019

    Yes, I agree with SC. Remove those shrubs and plant native shrubs. Native shrubs/plants are environmentally friendly, pollinator/bird friendly, water wise and lower maintenance. You can check with your local conservation district or county extension office to find shrubs/plants that are native to your area. Bee friendly plant Native.

  • Molly Sweet-Stancer Molly Sweet-Stancer on Aug 05, 2019

    Cutting your shrubs is good for them, they grow back fuller and better than they were before. You can never go wrong cutting them back, so cut away ! I would give them a good water after that.