Q: My ligustrum has gotten very scarce at the bottom while being full at the top. I’d like to cut it back to about two feet tall in hopes that this will thicken it up. Is this OK? When should I do it?
A: It’s common for shrubs to lose leaves at the bottom. It is usually caused by insufficient light low on the plant. If you regularly prune the top of the plant, the dense leaf growth there shades out the lower branches, particularly if the top is wider than the base.
You can rejuvenate the ligustrum by cutting it back to six to twelve inches tall in late February. New growth will come from the stump and you can trim that growth occasionally as your shrub grows back into a pleasing form. Remember always to keep the bottom of the shrubs wider than the top so sunshine can penetrate.