Major Elaeagnus (Silverberry) Pruning: 8 Years of Growth

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Major Elaeagnus Pruning

When we moved into this house in August 2009, I was still a gardening newbie.  I had more of a brown thumb rather than a green one.  And there were a lot of plants in our yard that I couldn’t identify, including this elaeagnus hedge.  I actually didn’t learn its name until September of this year, when we had someone come out and quote us a price on a major pruning.

I snapped this picture in April 2010 (our first spring in this house), and you can see how short these shrubs were then.  The elaeagnus is the dark foliage; the brighter green is something across the street.

Elaeagnus (Silverberry)

I drew a yellow line over the top of the shrubs in the picture below.  So. Small.  😳 

Elaeagnus (Silverberry)

And so, we let it grow, and grow. And grow.  And it got out of control.  It was getting tangled into the utility lines.  This picture is from April of this year (2017).  It’s a hot mess!

Elaeagnus (Silverberry) out of control

Not only was the elaeagnus out of control, but the yard was slowly starting to get taken over by Chinese privet.  I have to pause for a moment and stress just how much I hate Chinese privet.  I am convinced it’s the devil.  The privet was also growing, unchecked, and it was to the point where I couldn’t mow part of the yard anymore because of it.

Elaeagnus (Silverberry) & Chinese Privet

And so, it was time to get this mess under control.

Elaeagnus (Silverberry)

I also need to pause and mention that I am a little sad we had this hedge pruned down while it was flowering.  Every fall, I would smell the most DIVINE, sweet fragrance ever, and I could not pinpoint where it was coming from.  Once I learned the name of this shrub, I Googled it, and bingo!  Elaeagnus is what smells so wonderful!  These flowers might be tiny, but they smell freaking amazing!

Elaeagnus (Silverberry) Flowers

And so the process began with bringing the hedge down to about my height (or a little taller), so we could maintain it better in the future.  A crew of 3 people with a bobcat machine spent most of the day going through the hedge with a chainsaw, cutting a little at a time and hauling off the twigs and branches.

Major Elaeagnus Pruning

Major Elaeagnus Pruning

Major Elaeagnus Pruning

Until it was all done!  Unfortunately, elaeagnus is one of those shrubs where there is only greenery on the outside, so it was pretty bare looking when all was said and done.

Major Elaeagnus Pruning

It most definitely took getting used to and feeling so exposed to traffic going by on the road we couldn’t see beforehand.  I am looking forward to springtime when it puts out new growth and starts filling in again.  You can also see from the picture below that we got rid of several other shrubs that were in the yard, along with a small tree we did not care for.

Major Elaeagnus Pruning

I filmed some video footage of them removing the elaeagnus and made most of it a time-lapse video.  At the 3:38 mark in the video, I slow it back down to real time with sound so you can see them trying to pull the elaeagnus out of the utilities lines with the bobcat.

I will make sure to keep this hedge trimmed each year so it never gets so out of control again!