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Monkey puzzle tree

Hello. I’ve just purchased a house with a large monkey puzzle tree in the garden, it could be 50 years old. We plan to completely renovate house and garden. It’s far enough from the house that I can protect it when we extend but I have two questions:

1/ how far do the roots spread? I understand trees roots tend to be as wide as the tree, is this the same for MP’s? When we extend we will be digging up to around 3/4 metres of the tree. 

2/ The branches are slightly treacherous to touch and we have dogs. I’d like them to keep their eyes, so I’d like to chop the lower branches away. I’m not sure what these trees are supposed to look like when cared for, will it look daft if I trim the bottom say 2 metres of branches. They're going brown in places anyway. 

Any tips appreciated. 


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  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    It's a very handsome specimen you have there!  I was once at a house where there was a large one very close to the house, and the lady of the house told me you can safely plant it closer to the house than any other tree, because it has, in her words, "a carrot root".
  • ElizaRoseElizaRose East AngliaPosts: 121
    edited September 2019
    I always think of The Ghost and Mrs Muir when hearing 'monkey puzzle tree'. I had never seen one before coming to the U.K. You may recall that it was close to the house blocking the view so Mrs Muir chopped it down and boy was the captain mad!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,098
    It'll be fine.
    I love a Monkey Puzzle. There's a couple in a garden just along from me, and we have very small front gardens. They suit our conditions here, but never cause a problem.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,829
    The branches with the brown tips may be removed as they will eventually turn brown all the way up. Very prickly job.
    Our cats love the shade and shelter which ours gives without having any problems with the branches so I reckon your dogs will soon learn about them.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,587
    that's going to be some extension if you'll be within " 3/4 metres" , even assuming you mean 3 or 4 metres, and not three quarters.
    Devon.
  • Palustris said:
    The branches with the brown tips may be removed as they will eventually turn brown all the way up. Very prickly job.
    Our cats love the shade and shelter which ours gives without having any problems with the branches so I reckon your dogs will soon learn about them.
    Thank you 😊 The bottom branches are on resting on the floor and are mostly brown so think I’ll just trim up a couple of metres which will take the lowest ones away. I’m sure the dogs will learn to avoid being spiked in time. 
  • Hostafan1 said:
    that's going to be some extension if you'll be within " 3/4 metres" , even assuming you mean 3 or 4 metres, and not three quarters.
    The photo is quite deceiving. The tree is about 8/9 metres from the rear of the house and we are extending out by around 4 metres all the way along the rear of the house with a balcony to maximise the view. So yes it will be quite a big extension on quite a small bungalow 😊🏠
  • Oh dear, oh dear. Araucaria is a tree of the wild forests of Patagonia. It is not a British native and can be very destructive. It wipes out or stunts virtually all vegetation within a 20 m  radius, including of course the wild-life that goes with it. CUT IT DOWN as soon as practical.

    Everyone likes butterflies. Nobody likes caterpillars.
  • Oh dear, oh dear. Araucaria is a tree of the wild forests of Patagonia. It is not a British native and can be very destructive. It wipes out or stunts virtually all vegetation within a 20 m  radius, including of course the wild-life that goes with it. CUT IT DOWN as soon as practical.

    Is that factually true? I’m not convinced as there’s a healthy lawn surrounding it and more plants and weeds over the back fence than I’ve ever seen. And a very healthy laurel growing next to it. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,098
    I disagree. Nothing would be growing in anyone's gardens here if it was.
    Not many people beside me are what I would call gardeners, but the house across the footpath from the MP trees Imentioned  has fruit trees and all sorts in theirs. There's a variety of shrubs and perennials dotted around too, including things that shouldn't, in theory, grow well. That French lavender [stoechas]  for example :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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