Topping off 6 foot tree.

Tommyc(Mich 5-6)July 19, 2012

I have a Plumi tree that is over 6 foot and I'm having problems bringing it in through the sliding door for the winter. I need to start topping it off. Is there any special procedure that I must follow. I usually bring them in in early September here in Michigan. I thought taking out half of the top this fall when I bring it in during the fall, then the following year taking out what was remaining. OR... Should I trim now (Late July) or next spring when I set it out for the summer. Please help.

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How many branches are there?
What size pot is the tree in?
Is it staked / how many stakes?
With no picture/s I have to ask.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:39PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I would consider removing only a few branches at a time (per season). Again it's hard to say without seeing the plant. But if you 'top it off' and cut all branches, you reduce your chances of seeing any flowers next season.

When you cut back, leave at least 8" of the old branch, so that it will have the energy to rebranch.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

These plumis are my old ones that someone has since I moved. I went there yesterday to take some cuttings. They are about 8 feet tall. They have been trained to grow upwards to fit through sliding glass doors during the fall and winter. Trunks from ground are 3inches in diameter, growing up about 12inches to 3 solid branches then branching out upward to 8 feet. They branch out to a 5 foot canopy. They rooted in 1996(16 years old), well established. Pots are 20inch high, round 30 inch across. If I can get some pics I will. I understand about the flowering, etc. The problem she is having will be the height that will cause problems next spring and fall.

The link is what the plumi's looked like in 2007 (6 feet high in the pics). Basically same, higher, maybe a little wider. I'll try to post a pic of my last pics of the plumi's before I moved in my flickr site later today, Titled, Memories of my Plumeria. Hope this can help. She needs to do something about the height.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plumerias in 2007.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Those are nice looking trees! I can imagine they are even better now, 5 years later. Spring is a better time to trim back.... assuming she can get them inside safely this fall. If not, best to go ahead and cut back ASAP I would think. What Dave said is the best advice, be sure to leave around 8 inches.

Tough call on how much to prune. I have seen some big trees pruned *very* hard, back to very old, large diameter wood. IMHO these trees never look quite the same. When they grow back you have these skinny branches growing out from a much larger diameter main trunk. But OTOH you might not buy much time if you only prune back a year or two worth of growth.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:02PM
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ALOHA Bradda Tommy,

This is Hawaiian Paradise Park Tommy!
I thought you moved back to the Puna district?
Enjoy your photos from the Big Island.

Just remember, what you take off now will double next year!
A continuous cycle getting it in and out of the door.
I would almost take cuttings plant them up in new pots and locate the nearest botanical park or gardens for the mature tree to grow and for others to enjoy. I remember Cincinnati had an indoor tropical garden I would visit in the winter while going to college. May seem a bit unpractical but you never know?

Maybe some day we can meet at Ken's Pancake House in Hilo?
Hope you're doing well?
Mahalo Nui, Stuart

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 7:02PM
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tommyc, deb from lower MI here! Love your plumie pics, wish I saw your sale of your plumerias when you moved, they're wonderful! I watch craigslist and never see anyone selling any around here! But, they do great here, i have one about 3ft. tall that has bloomed after having it two yrs. I don't know if anyone has any cuttings to share, but I have seeds to share, assorted ones.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:55PM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

Ok here is another link of the photos when I last saw my plumi's. They are beautiful. I must say I did have very nice trees back in the day. I couldn't find anyone to take them in 2007. Finally the new owners found me on Craigslist and took them away.

Yes Tropic_7 this is HPP TommySea. I'm back in Michigan again for a while, taking care of elderly parents. If you want to know the story, please email in the flickr email, or send me an email here (if you can) and I'll email you back. I've got a long story to tell. Don't really want to open my email to everyone here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Memories of My Plumeria In Michigan 2007

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 11:15PM
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Tommy, your deck and plants were stunning--no wonder you miss them so much! The plumeria are excellent specimens, obviously well-loved. Hope you're able to grow more like them.

How were the bloom cycles on them, being so far north?

Darn it, now I need to go find some matching pots for my plumies, lol. Thanks for posting those inspiring photos.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

It seemed like it took about 9 inches of growth to produce a bloom. Usually that meant 2 years. So if I had blooms this year, it would not bloom the following year. Sometimes if an inflo just started to show in the fall, if I was lucky it would be the first to bloom in June the next spring. To stop insects from coming in with the plants in the fall, I would start with a systemic insecticide about a month before they were brought in. I'm gonna use Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Insect control on the new cuttings this fall. I'll also use it on my new "Red Sealing Wax Palms" (Lipstick Palms) that I have outside right now. They are a foot tall. I also have found a great method to start Lipstick Palm seeds that I bought online. I started them in February and they are an inch tall now, Still inside under florescent lights. I might just transplant them this week in a pot and take them outside for some encouraging summer sun before the fall. Keep an eye on my Flickr page and I'll post a pic of some Lipstick Palms I would see around town in Hawaii.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:36PM
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I take my big 6' Plumerias out of the pots and knock off the soil, leaving them unpotted for the winter. I am then able to drag the plant into the Florida room for the winter. Yes, they drop all their leaves, but I always remove all the leaves when I bring them in anyway, so it's o.k. that they lose leaves.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:17PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Those are lovely. Thats the exact shape I want mine to have when they get larger.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

Heres a link to a Lipstick Palm at the KFC Hilo drive through. Not too many times you see this sitting in a drive-thru. I've got some seedlings about 2 inches tall that I'll be transplanting this. Ooops sorry this is the Plumeria forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sealing Wax (Lipstick Palm)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:04AM
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Yep, those trees are what I'm working towards. And have a long way to go!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:08AM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

Mk... make sure you train them upward. I use a green transparent plastic coated wire I buy at ACO in the screw isle. The wire is thick, the coating protects it. Its easy to shape without tightening up on the stems. Be careful not to pull the branches to tight or they will snap. In the spring when the leaves are not open its easier to add the wire. When the leaves fill in, you won't see the wire.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hawaiian Sea PhotoStream

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:38PM
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