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shrubs into trees

catnipcatnip Posts: 73
Please reply only if you have tried and tested pruning a physocarpus diabolo (ninebark) into a tree. Please tell me how you did it.
I've been successful with lilacs and forsythia but the physocarpus is already established- about 6 foot tall and wide. 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,053
    edited April 2018
    you can no more turn a shrub into a tree, than you turn a motorbike into a car.
    You can make a shrub into a " standard " but that doesn't make it a tree.
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  • catnipcatnip Posts: 73
    Thanks, Freddie's dad! Pretty much what I've done with other shrubs so I'll give it a go.

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  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,158
    What you plan to do is known as crown lifting - making bare all the stems up to say shoulder height so the base of the shrub becomes effectively transparent thus allowing light, air and rain to plants below and forcing the shrub in question to concentrate foliage and flower activity higher up.

    Don't try and make it a one stem lollipop.  It will look dreadful and be prone to damage in heavy winds and hard winters.  Multi-stemmed shrubs look good this way as long as you maintain the effect by ruthlessly brushing off with your hand any new buds that form along the bare stem.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • catnipcatnip Posts: 73
    Thanks Obelixx and Freddie's dad- appreciate your sound advice. I live in Yorkshire, on top of a moor so am concerned about taking such a step but have been successful with other shrubs. Thanks again!!!
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