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The medlar has become an integral part of most gardens and is becoming increasingly popular. The evergreen deciduous tree is often cultivated as a solitary shrub or in a hedge and also as a standard tree. Red Robin, a variety with striking red leaves, is particularly common here. But the other varieties of Photinia fraseri also impress with their shiny leaves. In order for the plant to remain an eye-catcher in your own garden for a long time, it needs not only the right care but above all the right cut. How this is carried out perfectly is explained here.

Different variations

The photinia can be grown in three varieties, so the shrubs are ideal as a solitaire, for example as a decorative eye-catcher in a meadow. The individual shrubs are also popular as hedges. The plants have also recently become available as high stems. Of course, all of these variants need the right cut so that they can be enjoyed in your own garden for a long time.

Ideal time

As a rule, the Photinia fraseri, which tolerates pruning, should be pruned in the autumn months after flowering. If pruning is done in spring, the plant may not flower that year because pruning after winter will not produce new buds. The pruning should be carried out primarily on an overcast but dry day. If it rains, water can penetrate the cut directly when cutting and damage the plant.

The following points in time for the different cultivation variants should be observed:

  • Solitary plants only when needed, then cut in autumn
  • standard plants every autumn
  • cultivated as a hedge in autumn
  • but also throughout the year when shoots grow out of the hedge

However, cut Red Robin no later than October when it is time in autumn, so that no frost can get into the fresh cuts and thus damage the plant.

pruning hedge

If the medlar is cultivated as a hedge, it must be pruned regularly, otherwise it loses its compact growth and assumes a loose structure. Also, if the Photinia fraseri are not cut often enough, it can lead to a bare growth from the inside.

Regular pruning can help Red Robin grow dense and bushy, with lots of flowers in summer and lots of decorative berries in winter. Therefore, the hedge should be trimmed regularly as follows.

  • in autumn cut all branches to a third or even half
  • remove all old wood inside
  • in this case, the cut is made directly below the root
  • Only partially remove faded flowers
  • decorative berries form from this
  • these remain on the hedge throughout the fall and part of the winter
  • remove the berries in early spring
  • If there are small children in the household, remove the berries completely
  • these are poisonous and easily put in the mouth by children

Since Photinia fraseri sprout quite strongly in spring and summer, it is advisable to regularly remove the long shoots from a hedge in order to preserve the decorative picture. However, make sure that there are no buds or flowers on the shoots.

pulling tall stems

As a rule, the photinia can be bought ready-made as a small tree with a tall trunk in a well-stocked garden shop or nursery. Because all hardy shrubs can also be grown in this way and thus be very decorative. Every hobby gardener can also grow the high stem of a photiniae himself with a little effort.

This is done as follows:

  • use a stick as a support when planting the small shrub
  • attach a strong and straight center drive to this
  • Do not tie too tightly to avoid injury
  • further shoots are removed directly at the base
  • Also regularly remove side branches that form on the main shoot
  • if the shoot has gotten higher, proceed further
  • then remove the shoot tip at the desired trunk height
  • leave about three to four leaves
  • shorten the newly formed side shoots
  • over time, a round and dense crown forms

Since Photinia fraseri can grow very tall as a standard, you should pay attention to the right location with enough space right from the start. As the trunk grows and becomes wider and thicker, the support rod used can be removed.

Cut back high stems

So that the medlar is cultivated as a standard and does not grow back into a shrub, it must be pruned regularly. Above all, a topiary is important here so that Red Robin retains a beautiful, spherical crown.

The cut should therefore be proceeded as follows:

  • remove any hanging branches
  • Remove dead branches from the inside
  • these are cut off directly at the trunk
  • trim any branches that grow out of the spherical shape
  • pay attention to the flowering here
  • remove any new shoots that are newly formed from below from the root

As a rule, the plant is also cultivated as a tall stem and cut in the autumn, but this shoots out too much from the spherical crown, so these long shoots can be cut back at any time. Make sure that you only cut up to one bud.

Cut back solitaire

If the photinia was planted as a solitaire in a meadow or a bed, then of course it should be nice and big and a decorative eye-catcher. Red Robin with its decorative red leaves can grow up to four meters high and also very wide as a shrub. The solitary shrub does not necessarily have to be cut back every year, so it can spread and grow even faster.

Otherwise, the solitaire is blended as follows:

  • remove old wood inside
  • Only cut dried flowers if no berries are desired
  • Depending on how tall the shrub is to be, cut back to the desired height in autumn
  • remove the berries in spring
  • this allows new buds and flowers to form


Sharp and disinfected tools must always be used to cut back the medlar. The means for this is available in well-stocked gardening shops, alternatively, pure alcohol from the pharmacy can also be used. Unsharp tools should never be used, because if the cuts are not clean and straight, but are torn, pathogens or bacteria can penetrate more quickly.

The following tool is ideal for pruning:

  • Rose scissors for the new, soft shoots
  • Pruning shears for the older branches
  • Due to their length, the pruning shears help to get to the bare shoots inside
  • Gloves, because the medlar forms thorns
  • Long-sleeved clothing is also useful at work

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