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How to prune pittosporum

Updated February 21, 2019

Pittosporum grows up to 3.6 m (12 feet) in height with lush, fairly dense green foliage. It can spread up to 5.4 m (18 feet) wide. However, pruning your pittosporum keeps it manageable and compact. The plant handles pruning well. Prune in February. This reduces the chance of injury or disease by pruning in early winter. It also helps prevent damaging buds or new shoots at the beginning of spring. The compact nature of the leaves means you can use hand shears or even electric shears to trim the plant back.

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  1. Cut back any twigs and stems that jut out from the main body of the shrub using pruning shears. Some pittosporum branches tend to sprout in irregular shapes.

  2. Run electric shears over the top and sides of the pittosporum bush to create neat, smooth edges.

  3. Cut deeper into the plant to reduce the size to a more manageable level. Pittosporum tolerates fairly aggressive pruning.

  4. Look into the centre of the shrub and snip off any broken, split or wounded branches. If left alone, these can cause infection. Use sharp shears that make crisp, clean cuts.

  5. Prune new shoots from among the woody bush interior to maintain a regular bush shape.

  6. Warning

    Avoid winter pruning, but do trim back any broken or tangled branches at any stage in the year. Heavy pruning may interfere with flower production.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Electric shears

About the Author

Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.

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