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Pruning a small garden conifer

First post. I'm not a natural gardener, but I'm helping an elderly friend with her neglected garden and this will be the first of many  questions regarding pruning shrubs.

She has what I think is some kind of dwarf conifer (I don't think the pic uploader is working - it says 'no file chosen') which needs to be cut down in height by at least 30%. It's approx 2m high and blocking a window. It does have a nice spread though.

I know I have to do it in winter, but otherwise, how should i go about the task?

Thank you.


  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,146

    Hello Tonibee

    Without a picture , and assuming it IS a conifer of some kind , be very careful with the pruning . Cut too deep into the bare wood and it will not 'green-up' again , unless it's a Yew species .

    There are several coniferous species which will regenerate from bare-wood , but these are not often seen in the average garden .

  • Thanks Paul,

    I'm trying again - have downsized the picture so hopefully...image

  • Get the hedge trimmers out...light trim on the sides and as light as you can get away with on top, knowing it may stay quite brown right on the top section that's cut.

  • Thank you. I need to cut at least 30% of the top so as to free the window. Will I kill it?

    Should I just go straight across the top and then attempt to shape, or shape as a go reducing the height gradually? is there any mileage in cutting out the central, tall stem and branches, relying on those at the sides to hide it?

    By the way, what is it?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860

    I'd take them out if you need the window cleared, which I can understand. They'll never look right once you start footering with them. They really have to be kept trimmed from the start to keep the shape. It's an opportunity to plant something more suitable too.

    Unfortunately, it's a situation that's played out all over the country. People get sold 'dwarf' conifers, and then plant them near the house, thinking they'll stop whne they get to about three or four feet - which they don't.   The homeowners then spend a lot of time with their lights on during the day! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,966

    Agree with fairy.

    Sadly it will never look good after cutting to the requisite height.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • And I agree too ... there were similar trees here when we moved in ... the tops had been taken out to reduce the height ... they looked pitiful image

    Take them out and replace with something that will give some shape and colour without shading the window.   If the owner likes the current style of the garden maybe a prostrate juniper? Available in green, blue and gold varieties ... 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • I will just lop them for now, and then consider what to replace them with in the spring. Thanks for advice and contributions.

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,146


    Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Elwoodii' I think ; very slight blurring on my image here , or maybe it's my eyes image

  • Paul B3 says:


    Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Elwoodii' I think ; very slight blurring on my image here , or maybe it's my eyes image

    See original post

     Thank you. I googled that and found a few that look identical. Cheers!

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