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My wife and I just bought a property and I don't know anything about plants or trees. Can someone tell me what the large trees/bushes/plants are and also how often do I need to water them?

Plants in my yard

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Judging by the new growth being red, I'd say these were Photinia fraserii 'Red Robin'. I can't tell if they're pleached or not, can't see any framework within the foliage, so its possible they're just trained by pruning to this shape. Unless you live somewhere that gets very hot and very dry in summer, they shouldn't need much watering because they have access to the soil beneath the paving, and they're obviously already fairly mature plants - unless, that is, the former owners bought them recently as mature plants for 'instant' effect, which is possible if this is a recent property sale. If that's the case, they should be watered whenever the weather becomes hot and dry for a week or so, giving them a few gallons twice a week.

What you will need to do, though, is keep them pruned to maintain the shape and form they've currently got - left to its own devices, a Photinia will grow into a small tree of about 20-25 feet, with the usual 'crown' shape. You will probably need to trim back at least twice a year, maybe more. You should probably remove the short stems already appearing on the lower trunks of the plants by cutting them off close to the trunk with a clean and sharp pair of secateurs, up to the level of the more dense, top foliage, to keep the trunk areas visible and allow for other plants to have some light beneath. To the left of the picture, there looks to be a shoot or branch coming up from the ground, or possibly from the base of that particular plant - I'd clip that out too, but you'll need a good sharp pair of loppers for something that thick.

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    You might be able to use Google earth to see if the plants are old. – Graham Chiu Mar 31 '16 at 19:42
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    What a super idea Graham! Gees, seriously! When you prune these trees that are literally hedges on a stick and done beautifully...make SURE that the base of the 'hedge' is slightly WIDER than the width of the top. Watch for disease/insects as Photinia is susceptible. Your Photinia are the ONLY Photinia shrubs/trees I've ever appreciated! Very hardy just need some vigilance. New plants beneath will need more watering than these guys will if they are established plants. Make SURE that no soil, mulch, bark are covering even a quarter inch on the bottom of their trunk. Moisture will... – stormy Mar 31 '16 at 20:18
  • ...allow bacteria to girdle and kill trees and certain shrubs. Be pretty tough to replace one of these trees! Careful with fertilizer. More is not better and be aware of the fertilizing of the lower story plants as that will affect that 'hedge'...I am pretty sure that these plants have been around for a few years and need vigilance. They are worth bucks. Do any of your neighbor's yards drain into yours? Kinda big deal to know... – stormy Mar 31 '16 at 20:22

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