Cotoneaster – Renovating an Old Hedge

Posted by shane - April 22, 2011 - Pruning Techniques - No Comments

Cutting back the old hedge to 6" above grade

Ready to grow!

A perfectly trimmed cotoneaster hedge can be a great addition to an ornamental landscape in Alberta. Over the years, however, many hedges become overgrown, too big to manage, or infested with insect or disease problems. When this occurs, it may be time for a drastic renovation to ground level.

In recent years, scale insects have ravaged cotoneaster hedges. In Calgary, the pest is oystershell scale; in Edmonton, it is mainly scurfy scale. From my experience, I would say that oystershell scale is more serious, but both insects eventually take their toll on the hedge, by leaving dead, patchy areas in the canopy. Uncontrolled, the insects will kill the hedge. With a regimen of drastic renovation, combined with properly times insecticidal sprays, scale insects can be controlled, and your hedge can cotinue to look great.

Renovation is a dirty, dusty job, but is very straightforward.  Begin at the end of the hedge, and cut all stems to about 6″ above ground level.  Remove dead stems, leaving only fresh, healthy stubs.  New growth will occur from the cut ends, and also from new suckering growth from the exisiting root system.

If your hedge was infested with scale insects, be sure to treat the stumps with a contact insecticide around mid-June, when the immature scale insects are crawling.  New, healthy stems should reach a height of about 2′ the first season.  Hedge training may being as early as the second season after renovation.

For more information on hedge renovation, please call Wild Rose Tree Service at (403) 755-2443.

(c) Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service, Red Deer, AB