Pruning yaupons?

A friend of mine has moved into a house with three large yaupons in the front yard. They are 7-8 feet tall, and were planted when the house was built - 1972. They do not appear to be a dwarf variety at all.
From the visual standpoint, these plants need to be cut WAY back, but in the past they must have been pruned with a hedge trimmer because they are now basically large topiary/hedge balls, with all the green on the outer shell, with all wood in the interior.
If he does go ahead and cut them back to a much smaller size, and removes all the green, will that kill them? If not, now long will it be before new green develops?
Other options, other than removal?
Thanks.
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I don't believe I would remove all the leaves at once- while it could work it is very stressful to a plant.
I would suggest doing the pruning in stages- around 33% at a time. Trim the first portion way back, then wait until you see new growth before you trim the next portion- and so on. Do this in your true spring when new growth is going well- a light feeding at this time is a good idea as long as you are seeing active growth.
If you plan a bit (i.e. the first trim would be the parts you want to be the longest after all is said and done) this can work out really well.
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Toni Carroll
South Florida USA
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