The Woodlands of Missouri

The Woodlands of Missouri
...a stroll through the forest, a beautiful diverse biome.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Red-Tip Photinia - a Fast Growing Evergreen

Red-Tip Photinia - a Fast Growing Evergreen

One of the most popular evergreen shrubs for the warmer plant zones is the Red Tip Photinia (Photinia fraseri). The new growth is bright to deep red shoots and leaves, and masses of white Spring flowers, makes this a very attractive landscape shrub.

The two major features of this shrub is that its an evergreen, and that it can be very fast growing. Fast growing trees and shrubs are very popular for privacy screens and windbreaks, and as shrubs, hedges or fence line borders are widely popular also. Combine the two - fast growing and evergreen, and you have a plant that is highly prized in 'quick' landscape design.

Now growth rates do vary widely as per growing conditions (soils, climate, watering, fertilizing, etc.) so to state a growth-rate is always unrealistic. Even so, it is nice to have an idea what the Red Tip Photinia can grow. Fast growing is a relative term, but with Photinia, you can see anywhere from one foot to four feet of growth in a season. Now keep in mind, that as the Photinia grows, it is the whole 'ball' or spread that grows. So even at a foot, the incremental growth can be significant. It is important to keep the red Tip Photinia pruned, to both improve its growth and to develop the shrub into a dense evergreen mass. As the new growth develops (the red tips and shoots), pruning will help the plant to 'thicken up'. After the new growth turns from red to regular green like the rest of the plant, then trim some of the new growth. This can be done one to several times during the growing season. Each time this is done, new shoot buds will develop along the stems, producing more and more foliage. Repeat this process over several years, and the Red-Tip will be that classic dense shrub as noted in the various pictures and yards we see. Kept untrimmed, the Photinia will fill out moderately, but pruning really helps.

The Red-Tip Photinia grows best from Plant Zones 7 to 10, maybe even into Zone 6 with some luck. We have seen Photinia growing in Missouri, but generally the warmer climates are better. Height of the Red Tip Photinia can reach about ten to twelve feet, and about the same for width (varies with pruning). Develop the Photinia into a tree, for a focual point or limited space small tree. Photinia in the tree form does take more time and patience, but to have the whole umbrella a mass of white flowers is a spectacular sight! Watering and fertilizing are always questions asked. The Red Tip Photinia likes full sun, so the water demand is moderate. Depending on the soil and climate, you will want to monitor the soil moisture and keep the soil moist but not wet. Because the Photinia is a fast growing evergreen shrub, the Red Tip burns a lot of nutrients. Because of that, keep fertilized with a moderately strong nitrogen fertilizer. Really any type will do, but do fertilizer at least once during the growing season. Again, depending on the growing conditions, fertilize in late Winter before active, once of twice during the growing season to keep the evergreen growing at its best, then a low-nitorgen fertilizer in the late Summer or early Fall to fortify the shrub for the cooler Winter temperatures.

As a member of the Rose Family (Roseaceae), Photinia may have aphids and other minor pests bothering it. Like roses, deer are often fond of the Photinia, so be forewarned... NO mulch... One of the few trees or shrubs that should not have that thick layer of mulch is the Red Tip Photinia. This is because the Black Spot virus (common in Roses) festers in the organic material under the plant. Using a plastic mulch or weed cloth can be fine. Black spot can be fatal, but often more a comestic problem, and develops in cold temperatures and humidity. Mulch tends to increase the chance of its development. The warmer and drier the climate, the less likely Black Spot will develop. As the warmer drier season approaches, Photinia tends to grow out of the problem. Trimming can remove the unsightly stems and leaves.

Now as a grower of Red Tip Photinia, we always seem to sell out early in the Spring. We grow as much Photinia as we can, but we always sell out! The best time to order is early... anytime from late Summer through Winter, and by Spring, we tend to be sold-out. Book or place your orders early, and we can best meet your requests.

The Red Tip Photinia is a fast growing evergreen shrub, and now you know a little bit more...

Happy Planting!

Learn more... Order here!


Written by Empire National Nursery, Your North Carolina Source for Fast Growing Trees.