We have an overcrowded and neglected pocket woods in a corner of our yard. It's very small, maybe 30x30' or so, and contains black locust, chokecherry, Mazzard cherry, one American holly,one pin oak, a small spruce, and a Norway maple in one corner. There are 2 dogwoods on the edge. I would like to improve it gradually, and don't want to cut everything down, so some of the non-native stuff will have to stay for now.
I discovered a sweetgum growing there. It's about 8" in diameter, too close to the other trees. I'm not going to cut down the pin oak, which is about 8' away, but I'd be willing to remove a couple of cherries and the saplings of hackberry and Norway maple. Right now the sweetgum is like a bean pole--30' high and going straight up with no branches. Will it be able to recover and branch out at all if I thin out the trees around it?