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pruning native trees



  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    Remember that most of these flower/fruit on old wood (previous year's growth), so best to prune hard/infrequently rather than an annual trim which will remove the flowers for the following season.

  • Carole 3Carole 3 Posts: 18

    Thank you for that tip too. Pruning hard but infrequently is probably right up our street, but I have to admit more as a result of lack of time/organisation/tidiness than for better gardening reasons! I think we tend to take the wildlife gardeners' thing of 'don't make the garden too tidy' a little too much to the extreme...

  • Carole 3Carole 3 Posts: 18

    Our neighbours are pretty nice on the whole, but their attitude towards garden neatness if shall we say more strict than ours. We've only had the tree issue as above, and 'could we cut back the Russian vine on the fence as the little white flowers blow into their garden and make the patio untidy'. Can't do that right now as there's a blackbird nest in there! But a Russian vine needs pretty heavy treatment anyway so it's not a problem to hack the top shoots back every so often. I don't think you could kill that stuff with heavy artillery...

  • Jo47, your neighbour is clearly not a diplomat! But you have to allow him the preference not to have neighbours' plants growing into his garden. Similarly, bad hay-fever can be a dreadful problem - there are certain plants that give me a hard time. Both good examples of how not to approach problems.

  • Carole 3Carole 3 Posts: 18

    We do respect our neighbours' right to enjoy their garden without ours spoiling things for them, of course, so will willingly hack back the Russian vine once the blackbirds have finished with it and embark on thinning/pruning the trees when it's the right time. I like the idea of keeping it all at a reasonable hedge height, and I would think that the more bushy they get the better the wildlife will like it anyway - better shelter.

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807

    Hi, I started out trying to trim down he privet hedge today, and then noticed the field maple in the hedgerow had exploded, and is a little lopsided.

    So I've started to hard prune it.  My neighbour previously commented about oversized trees (forgetting they have the largest tree on the block!). 

    Can I pollard it?  Or should I leave a little shape.  The trunk splits into two, and I'd guess the diameter of each fork, is about four inches.

    I love the field maples, it feels horrible to cut them back, but I'm hoping they'll bounce back.  I cut the top off a wounded sycamore at the beginning of the year, and it freely sprouted right down the trunk, but the trunk was thinner.  I'm hoping for similar vigour.



  • Yes, it's pretty vigorous - I don't think you'll do much harm.

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,336

    Field Maple is a common hedgerow tree/bush.  It can stand repeated trimming and come to no harm if you hard prune it.  Don't worry, Wayside.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • We cut back our field maples pretty hard, and they are busily regrowing!

  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807

    I'm in a quandary, I think I cut it at the wrong place.

    There were two prongs, each opened further up into many branches.  I misread an article as cut above the first lateral branch.  I took it literally.  Whereas I think I should have cut it back where it opened up more fully further up.  Impatient idiot that I am.

    Anyway, I now am not sure whether I should go for a low pollard, or just to hell with it, and coppice it.  My aim was to reduce the size of the hedge, so coppicing might not be that bad an idea.  I've read that field maple becomes shrub like if you do so, but I couldn't find any pictures on-line.

    Looking at the hedgerow, I think one of them has been coppiced in the past, as the main stem forks into four very low down, with a nice result, but I can't see a stump.  Perhaps it's just the way field maple grows.  I have another that is menorah shaped.  I'm tempted to just hack right across up high in a horizontal sweep, which was probably what I should have done with the other.

    That will teach me for not consulting a pro!

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