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Reviving old aucuba japonica shrubs

13 days ago

I moved last fall and my property has a couple of Japanese laurels that are extremely bare around the base of the plants. I'm hoping to figure out if they can be revived. From what I've read, it seems like my best bet might be to trim around 30-50% of the stems back to about a foot above the ground in late march, and then trim the remaining stems back the following spring. However, as can be seen from the photos, the shrubs have very thick (~3-4 inches in diameter) woody stems (or trunks?), and I'm not sure about what to do with these. Any advices on how to revive these plants?

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