Pruning White Pine

kneecop(7 Long Island)March 3, 2012

Hey everyone -

We've recently moved into a house that has a row of white pine (fairly certain they are white pine) that the previous owner trimmed each year to keep it contained. I'm a proponent of letting plants achieve their natural state, but these have been trimmed for way to many years to achieve normalcy, and there's just not enough room for them to grow into what they should otherwise.

So I have to trim these back & there's not much that I can do about it unless I take them all out.

Assuming that this is the case, when is the best time for the arborist to come and do what he needs to do? Before the candles shoot? After?

Thanks so much?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hard to tell whats going on here ... or what you want to accomplish ...

by biggest regret when i moved into this house.. was not taking down a bunch of pine that were about 15 feet tall.. and within my ability ..

and 10 years later having to pay $500 to knock them down ...

think about that ... the previous owner left you a nightmare.. and now you are thinking about spending a lot of money every year.. to maintain that nightmare ... maybe its time to go ...

intro to conifers at link.. should give you some basics about pine .. near the bottom ... start with that.. and narrow you questions for more precise answers ... the key there.. is the lack of dormant buds ....

a picture would really help us ... help you

IMHO.. get rid of them.. and create your own nightmare ...

ken

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 10:01AM
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wisconsitom

If you do elect to keep them around, the usual method for keeping them in bounds is to prune the candles-the new shoots-back just as or after they form.

I would also never do this to a pine but as you've explained, this is what you're faced with. Another option, albeit possibly a poor one, would be to simply let them go "free-range" at this point. They will indeed look odd for a while, maybe even quite a while. And they might not ever grow out of this. But what have you to lose?

Otherwise, as Ken has stated, it might just be best to make radical pruning cuts-at the base of each plant.

+oM

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 11:35AM
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alley_cat_gw

Maybe you could take out every other one and then let em go and see how that works. If you could post a photo the folks on here could give you a quick id so you can be sure of what you have.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:08AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

First a photo...then a comment.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:15AM
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bernd ny zone5

You can prune them only when they are a few years old. It is difficult and dangerous to lean a long ladder against the long and flexible branches to cut off some branchlets. When they get much higher, such as 60 ft tall x 50 ft wide, Mother Nature will prune them. White pines have weak wood and will shed branches when loaded with wet snow, and in your area a hurricane comes through. Topping them will lead to multi leaders, not good.
Bernd

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:34AM
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