photinia dying-ok to use wood for trellis?

anniee(8)September 12, 2012

I have 6 huge photinia frasei that have a blight and need to be cut down now. Is the wood suitable to make a rustic garden trellis? If so can wood be used it immediately this fall? It will not be sanded etc....used as is. Will the wood hold up in Seattle weather? Also the 6 trees were used as privacy screen. Could they be cut about 9'up, leave the trunks and attach the branch lattice work to them?

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You can use the photinia stems for anything you like - the 'blight' (actually a fungal leaf spot) is not systemic and does not transfer to most other plants. How well the wood will hold up is a guess - should last a couple of seasons anyway.

If you are asking if you can limb up the photinias and somehow attach the lattice to them, I'm sure you could but I'm not sure I'd bother. Eventually - and sooner rather than later - you will need to completely remove the photinias so why not opt for a new, more attractive and healthier plant choice now? And I am not entirely convinced what you propose is going to be any sort of aesthetic improvement over the blighted photinia foliage :-)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 5:56PM
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swellcat(7B-8A Fort Worth)

Did you use the wood? If so, how has it turned out?

I've had some photinias standing dead for several years. Some of the trunks and roots are still so stout that the remains are hard to dislodge from the ground. That unexpected tenacity led me to look more closely at the wood, for example, by turning a piece on a lathe. The wood shows appealing tan-to-cream colours, and there is a certain natural luster.

Over the last couple of days, I've been making arrow shafts, too, from the standing-dead photinia stock. The wood responds readily to any needed straightening. I don't yet know how well this particular application is going to work, but I'm encouraged to think photinia wood can see better use than being piled on the curb.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 12:36AM
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Hi Swellcat,
Yes, the trellis fence done a year ago is beautiful and made a sculptural durable unique addition to our garden. I had also asked Miller Library Answer Line the questions as well as googled for answers. One man carved birds out of different woods including photinia and said it was dense and should be long lasting.Miller Library said the same.

I later dropped by photos of the completed fence to the Miller Library. I tried to post a photo here but failed.

I just returned from Japan and our builder used some of Japanese fence construction methods. 4 trees were cut to roughly 9-12 feet high. The other 3 removed trees were cut in lengths to make an free form open lattice between the rooted trees. The main horizontal branches were then bound by dark brown rope to the upright trees. No nails were put in the living trees. He then made
flowing lines with the smaller branches which were held by tiny nails I can't see. It's very creative and we have now planted shrubs on the road side which further block out the road and a couple houses across the road.

In addition I have embellished the trellis/fence last winter with berried holly branches and also this summer put moss from the woods on some of the branches.

I also talked to Ciscoe Morris about different uses of old diseased photinia .I think your uses for the wood are great. Please post photos if you can, Swellcat.

All the best, Annie

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Photinias are fungal leaf spot magnets in the PNW. It amazes me that so many builders and landscapers use them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 10:02PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Builders are notorious for installing bad landscaping, but any landscaper worthy of being called one, hasn't used Photinia in a long time.
I never did like them because of the large cheap red leaves and usually high maintenance of shearing. In over thirty years of landscaping, I can proudly say I never planted one. I sure removed a lot of them though. Pieris japonica, 'Mountain fire' is much nicer.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 10:59AM
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