Bush/shrub identification, pruning recommendations with pictures

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by GravyTrain, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    The pictures you see below are of a landscape of one of my current lawn customers, focusing primarily on the bush in question. There are more than just one actual planting, but they have all grown together to the point where it is difficult to differentiate between each of them.

    The first two were taken closer up to give more detail. The other two will hopefully be helpful by giving an overall appearance of the bushes/shrubs.

    This is the only landscape I have seen this bush. If I have seen it before, it was not quite this large and overgrown. First, I would like to know what kind of bush/shrub this is. Second, any thoughts on how to prune this back would be very helpful. I'm in Central Arkansas and we are hovering around 45 daytime averages and just above freezing at night. Would pruning now do too much harm or should it wait until spring/warmer temperatures?

    photo x1.jpg

    photox 2.jpg

    photo 1.jpg

    photo 2.jpg
  2. land_scaper70

    land_scaper70 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    It appears to be Potentilla a flowering shrub. They flower here right around the time the Japanese beetles are coming out. You can cut them back to at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size they are now, real hardy and will come back with a vengeance, also known as job security.
  3. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Based on some quick research (very quick), I don't believe that matches this particular plant. The images I came across showed much broader and greener leaves, and I was unable to find any examples of a Potentilla getting as large as the ones I'm up against.

    land_scaper, thank you very much for the information and if I am simply missing something, I'd love to be corrected. can anyone agree or disagree with what kind of plant this is?
  4. CrownScapes

    CrownScapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    My first guess was a form of abelia but seeing things in winter is tough. Bite the bullet and ask homeowner if they know, being honest with them wont hurt. Personally I would still prune it back to least half and see what happens, not that attractive anyways
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It looks like yew needles on the picture but with a growth habit similar to sprirea... It looks as though it needs a good pruning, in that, it is only growing foliage on the end of the stem...

    Prune it back almost to 1/2 its size, as long as there are at least 3 vibrant living buds left to grow...

    This is the best time of the year for the majority of plants... Dormancy...

    Sometimes early dormancy, but often times late dormancy is best because the heavy snow and ice is done breaking branches and such... :)
  6. Leo the Landscaper

    Leo the Landscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    Might be a type of Daphne?
  7. DavidsonLandscaping

    DavidsonLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    id say cut off a small branch and bring it to you local nursery would be a good start
  8. gunsnroses

    gunsnroses LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    I saw this this morning. I at first thought possibly the same as many others on here on what it could be. It is tough because of what it seems to be a screwed up winter and what stage the plant is this time of year. Color of the purple stem pissed me off, because I should know that chit being not too common of a color. A light just came on.... I believe it to be an overgrown dwarf arctic willow (salix purpurea). If it is, you can cut it down to about 12 inches, and it will look awesome by mid summer.
  9. Century Landscape

    Century Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Definitely not abelia, could be a yew of some kind though. I don't think any kind of spirea either. I'm pretty familiar with abelia and spirea. The leaves kind of pattern like some sort of yew, but not sure though.

    So, basically - I guess I'm not much help. :laugh: But seriously, wanted to rule out a few of those.

    Generally a good time to trim during dormancy. I'll second that.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Regardless, it has the growth habit of spirea(but not actually spirea) and could easily be pruned like one... as long as it's dormant it will be fine... :)

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