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Spindly trees


I have two trees (1 Elder and 1 Lilac) that have competed for the light with a privet which I removed last summer. The two trees are very top heavy and spindly. They both flowered this summer, so they are still healthy. But, I would like to reduce their heights. The question is, how hard can I prune them back? Cut each branch back or prune hard to the trunk? Help! Suggestions welcome.


  • You could prune both of them down as low as about a foot high, but don't expect any lilac flowers for a couple of years.

  • ljbljb Posts: 3

    Thanks Joe, I'll bear that in mind.

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    take the elder to the floor (personally I'd remove it - there are nicer shrubs) and take the lilac to just below the top of the purple fence, they'll rapidly reshoot.

    i'd also be taking to my neighbour about the leylandii and how tall they are.

    Last edited: 20 October 2017 12:17:57

  • ljbljb Posts: 3

    Thanks Treehugger. Advice taken. I'd like to keep the elder because I fancy making elderberry cordial or the like, but I'll be bold and cut it low. To be honest, the neighbour has just had a tree surgeon in and taken 1/2 to 2/3 off the top of the leylandii!! but I plan to remove what is overhanging my garden. Thanks again.

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