Pittosporums are popular hedging plants that are great for providing privacy.
They’re fast growing and can reach 13 feet (4 metres) in height but you can keep them to a smaller size with regular pruning.
In this article I’ll share my tips for pruning pittosporum hedges so you can have a beautiful dense privacy hedge in your garden.
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How often do pittosporums need to be pruned?
Pittosporum hedges should be pruned at least two to three times a year.
The larger your hedge is, the more often you’ll need to prune it.
The best times to prune pittosporums are spring, summer and mid-fall.
Start giving the plants a light prune while they’re still young to help them grow dense foliage, instead of becoming tall and leggy.
Regular pruning will keep your hedge dense and bushy year-round. It will also improve its overall health and appearance.
HOW TO PRUNE PITTOSPORUM HEDGES
Things you’ll need:
- Pruning shears
- Hedge trimmer
- Hand saw or chainsaw
- Bleach or tea tree oil
Wipe down the blades of your pruning shears and any other hedge trimming equipment to avoid spreading diseases from one plant to another. 
You can use a solution of 9 parts water to one part bleach or tea tree oil to disinfect your equipment.
Trim the sides of the hedge with a hedge trimmer or shears before starting on the top so you won’t have to lean over as far.
Have someone hold the ladder for you if possible.
Trim off an inch or two of new growth, taking care to leave at least one set of leaves on each branch.
Cutting too far back into the hedge will result in bare patches throughout the hedge.
You can use a string line to get the hedge perfectly straight.
Avoid trimming the bottom of the plants if you want a tidy hedge right to ground level.
After you finish trimming the hedge, use a rake to remove any small branches or leaves from the top of the hedge to tidy it up.
You can use some of the prunings underneath the hedge as mulch and add the rest to your compost heap.
When to avoid pruning pittosporums
It’s best to avoid pruning your pittosporum hedge on extremely hot days because the new foliage can become burnt.
Also avoid pruning during the winter if you live in an area that receives frost or snow.
Pittosporum pruning problems
Take care to avoid cutting too close to the branches with your hedge trimmer.
In the picture below you can see some of the bark has been damaged from the hedge trimmer.
Mature trees will usually form a callus and recover from bark damage but younger trees may not survive.
Pittosporums that haven’t been pruned for a number of years will have thick branches so you may need a chainsaw to cut through them.
This may result in some of the branch ends sticking up above the foliage. The ends of the branches will be exposed until the foliage grows back.
So there are my tips for pruning pittosporum hedges.
With regular pruning you’ll have a beautiful dense evergreen hedge to provide privacy and shade for many years to come.