Trimming or Topping off Pine Trees

SFBayArea_CA(Z9 CA)October 21, 2005

I have several 30' tall pine trees (Jeffrey Pine or other similar looking species) around my house. The yard has too much shade and needles from them.

I want to top them off at half of the height and trim them to increase the sun light through the trees.

But I DO NOT want to harm NOR significantly disfigure the trees.

Any comments or suggestions are very much appreciated.

One side question, they send down a lot more needles this year (I bought the house 2 years ago). Any suggestion on what might went wrong?

Thank you very much in advance.

Richard

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you said: But I DO NOT want to harm NOR significantly disfigure the trees.

====>>>> IN MY HUMBLE OPINION YOU ARE HARMING THEM AND DISFIGURING THESE TREES ....

if you dont like them .. get rid of them ... period ...

needle fall is normal for pines ... NOTHING went wrong ...

why torture and maime a tree ... just get over the guilt and replace it with things that please you ...

ken

1 Like    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 2:51PM
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SilverVista(z8OR)

Unfortunately, topping and trimming these trees will not lead to nice, flat-topped or rounded, shorter trees. It begins a wild scramble by the tree to re-establish a leader. It completely unbalances the root-to-shoot ratio, and it opens a clear path for disease and pests to make the problem worse. I'm with Ken. Either take a few trees out entirely to open up the property a bit, or live with them.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 4:21PM
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SFBayArea_CA(Z9 CA)

Thank you for the helpful comments.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 5:09PM
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pinetree30(Sierra Westside)

If needle-fall is significantly greater than in other autumns it may be because the cohort now being shed (probably the 2003 needles) are more numerous than in the other years. This suggests a good year for bud formation in 2002.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 11:34PM
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SFBayArea_CA(Z9 CA)

I see. This is good knowledge for me. Thank you Pinetree 30.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 1:33AM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

You could possibly trim them, (i.e. selectively cut some side branches), but topping them is a no no. They will have big problems, possibly leading to death, and will grow deformed on the top and look really ugly. I suggest either taking some out entirely, or thinning, depending on how they are situated. I also suggest hiring a professional arborist for the job, or reading up on thinning conifers. If someone tells you to top these trees, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. I've seen enough disasters with this to know.

Here's an example of a web site I found when I googled "pruning pine trees."

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Tech - A Guide to Successful Pruning, Evergreen Trees

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 2:50PM
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deep___roots(ca9/sunset15)

This is the time of year for needle drop. Rake them up and save them. They do have some utility in mulching.

If your trees are too dense and make too much shade, either remove a couple of trees, or remove limbs from your trees up to a certain height on the trunk. This will let in more light and improve air circulation so you can grow understory plants. I had some tree guys limb up my 60 foot pine. We took off all branches up to 30 feet on the trunk. This solved many problems, such as too much shade, squirrels using low branches as a highway to jump onto buildings, and the danger of low branches being buffetted by high winds and being blown into contact with buildings.

Any good tree workers can help you decide how to best prune or remove your trees.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 12:22PM
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Nayls142(Z7 PA)
    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 10:01AM
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danielvliet

Hurricane Katrina took the top off our very large pine tree. It still has live, green branches. However, we worry that our pine tree will die because it lost its crown. We live in Covington, La.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 5:12PM
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nogreenthumb_1969

I just had a pine tree in the corner of my backyard "trimmed" well I had all it's branches removed. It was overhanging our backyard and dropping pine needles everywhere. My wife is pretty mad at me for making this call. When I was out there with the tree trimmers I told him to continue trimming all the branches. Now what do I do? Is the only thing left removing this tree? will leaving it there cause it to die?

Stupid in California.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 12:21PM
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gardengal48

You had ALL the branches trimmed off?? As in there are none left? Yes, you have effectively killed the tree. Call your tree guy back and have him finish the job by cutting down the naked truck.

Tacking on a separate posting to an existing (as well as rather stale) thread is not considered good 'Netiquette and often results with the late post/query being overlooked. Next time try starting your own thread for your questions. It's easy - just follow the directions.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 9:48AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i agree about a new post... i bet the original poster is wondering what the heck is going on ....

but in response.. let me put it to you this way .. as long as that stick is there.. you are going to get heck from wifey ... ergo .. it has to go .. so she will start to forget.. and you MIGHT have a chance of recovering matrimonial bliss ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 1:59PM
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kevin_kennedytreeservice_com

I agree, topping out your pines may not be the best idea. It will put a huge amount of stress on the tree, and in my opinion doesn't look all that good. My recommendation is thin them out. Step back and take a good look at your yard, decide which trees can go. Also i have found that a bit of trimming every year will give them a nice "full" look. Prune just enough to keep the shape you want. Trim in late winter or very early spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: kennedy tree service

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:38PM
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Lynnettefredericks_comcast_net

I have a 12-15 white pine tree. Some of the top got damaged in a storm - tree branches cut it off. Will the tree die if the top opf it is half gone? Can I take a stem and root it to start another tree?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 6:07PM
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baggz(2b)

iuno shrugs...
I have several pines and my one pine out front grew two crowns, when, just before I bought this place they took the crown off for a xmas tree hah but it grew 2 back.
Also, I have seen hedges made out of pine trees that LQQk ok, they seem fine. Seen the neighbour cut his short all the time and they just keeeeep goin. So try it see what it does.. if it goes bad then take it right out.

Here is a link that might be useful: pruning pine trees

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 6:19AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Anyone else notice more spam with Houzz?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 12:37PM
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davesconifers

Not on my end. Of course I have AB. I kind of like the new format with Houzz.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 3:01PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no junkie ...

sorta dave

coping with change.. ken

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 6:42PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Dave & Ken,

What I meant was, camlguerrier pulling up a post from 2013 just to hype a tree sevice.

tj

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 7:22PM
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davesconifers

Ken, Just coping with winter here.

Houzz OK, but can't left click for photo enlargement. I have found lately if you up grade, no matter what, it usually ends up a down grade.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 1:32PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey junk .... i missed the date and spaminess of this .. ken

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 7:50AM
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