Forum home Garden design

How to style a conifer if you remove the lowest 2m of limbs from a 4m tree?

I have 5 conifers which I prune to 4 metres, and have taken out the lowest limbs to underplant them. In the future, I might want to 'lift the canopy' even more, perhaps to as much as 2metres, to allow a person to stand under them, but I think the result might look like a bit stupid, 2 m of trunk and then 2 metres of conifer. Are there any examples of ways to prune a conifer to these dimensions?


  • cloud prune them? although if they've been pruned as a hedge (straight sides) that might be difficult as you can't cut into 'dead' wood and get regrowth
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009
    I think you could only do them as a pleached hedge, which resembles a hedge on stilts. You'd just remove lower limbs as you suggest, but keep all the canopy in a standard, boxy hedge shape. That would work well enough if you already keep it as a well maintained hedge.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Interesting ideas, thanks. These conifers currently don't form a hedge, they are all freestanding individuals, currently tree-shaped.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,653
    I agree with FG - if you're going to "lollipop" them do it properly and shape the top too.  They can be rectangular, cubed or oval topped or even clipped pyramids but not natural conifer shaped cos that would look weird.    There's a local council round here that's done it with magnolias, of all things, and it's quite interesting.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009
    Apologies elderberry - I jumped to the conclusion that it was a hedge. I think you can still do that though - as Obelixx says.
    It would depend on the look you want too - they wouldn't all need to be the same, but make sure you can maintain them easily enough. It could become quite labour intensive.
    If you intend underplanting, you'll need to enrich the soil well enough to be sure your plants will thrive. Conifers can take a huge amount of nutrients and moisture from the surrounding ground. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
Sign In or Register to comment.