Ligustrum/Lorepetalum Hedge-Time to Trim

Q: I have a ligustrum/lorepetalum hedge that is twenty feet tall; it has gotten unmanageable. I would like to take it down to ten feet. Can this be accomplished at this time of year without killing them?

A: It won’t kill them but keep this in mind: a big consideration when pruning is how ambient temperatures will affect the plant’s response. With hot temperatures there’s little stimulation for a shrub to recover and grow more foliage after you prune. In early spring, warming temperatures simulate a plant to rapidly grow new leaves and cover over any cut you make. If you are in a situation where you are forced to prune at this time of year, you could do it but you will look at bare stubs for much longer than if you did the pruning in early spring. Consider remove a quarter of the plant now and the rest in February.