Can you prune Horstmann's Siberlocke Korean Fir

perlpJuly 20, 2011

I bought one of these from Menards today. I did not know anything about this conifer, it looked beautiful and was on sale. According to the tag its size is 6'x4' and hardy in zone 5. Looked perfect for my requirements of a small specimen tree.

But when I did some fact finding on google, found that it could grow much bigger, 10'-30' in 10-20 years according to number of nursery web sites.

I like the form and look of the tree, so would like to know if it can be kept small over the years by pruning or some other means. My ideal size would be at most 6' tall 4'-5' width.

Thanks - Lalith

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

When the candles/new-growth begins growing each year, wait a few weeks but not much more and use your pruners and cut the new growth back to a place where you want to keep it. From there it will stop growing and will set a new bud or set of buds for the next year and, will be finished growing for that year. Continue this process and you will be able to keep it for a very long time at that size. Surely each year a centimeter or so will be gained, but in the long run, you can maintain it for many-years.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:38AM
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I bought a Pinus sylvestris 'Fastigiata' when I was naive to checking final heights. I have it in a pot but will 'release' it to a scrub area; it can grow as it wants innocent of my mistake.

I haven't bought a baby elephant since.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:24AM
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Thanks for the response. So it seems doable, my tree is still 3', so I think I can wait until next spring to start pruning.

How important is the timing of pruning? I have a Colorado blue spruce tree I also like to trim a little, It has new candles for about two months now. I wonder if it would be harmful to the tree, if I prune them now.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:45AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the timing is so important.. that you might kill the plant otherwise ... you have NO CHOICE but to wait until next spring ...

if you cut off next years buds.. which are already on the plant.. then that branch will die back to the next live branch with a bud ... and if you happen to be so retentive.. that you cut off all the buds.. then the plant will die ... dramatic enough.. lol ...

as teh new growth next spring.. starts extending.. there are no buds ... when they get to about half the yearly growth rate.. you can snip back about half way ... and the following years buds will form as the new growth hardens off ...

if you wait too late.. and cut off all the new buds.. see above ..


check out the link.. and also google 'pruning conifers' .. for many more links ... also google 'silberloche' annual growth rate'


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 12:39PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Very important as Ken mentions. Two weeks is perfect. However, you may cut the shoot(s) back to within millimeters of where it began it's growth.

Picea/spruce & Abies/fir will both require the same format of pruning exercise.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:03PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

The majority shipment of this plant for Menards where severely bot bound.

You may need to wait until Spring to plant. Based on what I've seen I don't know if I'd do that much root surgery and then plant in fall...I'll leave that up to the experts to provide feedback.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Do I really have to worry about untangling roots. I am not trying to promote growth, rather to slow down and keep it alive.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:09PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

"Do I really have to worry about untangling roots"

Yes, if you want it to a) live and b) not fall down the roots need to be free.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:32PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Don't worry this plant is not by any means a fast grower. It won't grow more than 6" a year.

The challenge for you is to actually keep it alive. Make sure you give a little winter and sun protection. Also its imperative that Abies has well drained soil.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 9:36AM
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