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  • Keith Funk

Pruning Dwarf Conifer Tree

Q:  I planted what was supposed to be a dwarf conifer many years ago & it's now about 10' tall & so exuberant that's taken over the entrance to an outbuilding. I need to prune it to have access but are there any guidelines for a situation like this?  I love the tree but...

A:  Keep in mind when planting dwarf conifers that the term dwarf does not mean miniature.  If the full sized plant grows to 50’ tall, a dwarf of the same species growing to 25’ is considered dwarf by comparison.  Pruning dwarf conifers can be done but it can be tricky in that it is easy to destroy the natural shape of the plant.  Start early in the life of the plant by cutting back the new candles each spring by at least half before the needles start to elongate.  This will keep the plant dense and bushy and slow the natural desire of the plant to get larger.  However, this just delays the inevitable.  Best to plant it in a location with its eventual size in mind to begin with.   There is also the possibility of moving the plant in early spring.  Best done with plants that have been in the ground less than 8-10 years.  There’s also the option of moving the outbuilding.

Keith Funk is handling our Q & A this year. You may have visited one of Keith’s Denver area gardens on a tour or know him from his years at Echter’s and now at Nick’s Garden Center. For 30 years he’s been heard every Saturday morning from 7-9 with fellow Wise Guy, Jim Borland, on the Garden Wise Radio Show on Legends 810AM.




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