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Advice about Cotoneaster Cornubia

Hello Everyone,

I'm a very new gardener so apologies in advance if any of this is a little stupid, but I was wondering if anyone could help me with a question I have about a Cotoneaster Cornubia tree.

This is the first tree I have ever planted, which I did so a year ago (Dec 2015). On planting it was 7ft 2in and it is now 10ft 2in. It has grown a lot of branches and had some berries, though not many, which the Blackbirds scoffed. Most of its leaves are still on now in February, so I think it's in reasonable health.

My problem is that it isn't growing very thick, and the top is falling over. It's trunk is woody to about 5ft, but above that it's more like a branch. I bought the tallest stake I could, about 8ft long, but above that it topples over unless I try to support it somehow. I went to a garden centre and looked at the ones they had for sale, which I think were a bit older (and more expensive) than mine, and all looked like they had been cut at the top where the main stem/trunk then split.

I am wondering whether I should cut the top off the encourage thickening, or let it topple if that's the natural habit. OIherwise, do you think there is something wrong with it. I'm hoping it's just a lanky kid who's growing into his skin.

Thanks and sorry for the essay.

Last edited: 06 February 2017 15:20:46

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,985

    the branches droop, it's the nature of the plant. 

    Can you post a photo? Start from the camera icon and not too large a pic.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489

    Paul, mine is a fairly skinny tree. It hasn't thickened after having the top 5 feet removed about six years ago. New branches have since grown.

    SW Scotland
  • Thanks Both, here is a photo - not the best but hopefully you get the picture.image

    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • Looks fine to me and to be honest, I'd leave it alone. As long as the stakeis holding the stem secure at about 2ft and four feet, then you know the root ball won't be loosened in the ground. The 'free' stem above the ties can then flex and bend with the wind, thus strengthening it.  As said, the habit is to get up to a certain height, then spread and droop. Your youngster is doing just what it should.


  • Thanks H-C, that's re-assuring. It does bend in the wind, but the roots seem stable. I was just a bit freaked seeing the fine exhibits at the posh garden centre, and I know it's not a lack of water around by us. So, it evidently just feels like I do on a Monday.

    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,985

    I agree, I'd let that be. They lose their graceful look and stick their elbows out if you prune them. I had to cut one that had extended to the road (I never allow enough space) and it doesn't look so good now.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Give it a couple of weeks, p'raps a bit more and you'll see new leaves forming. They're greyer as they emerge and, being small and vigorous, bend upwards, so they stand out against the older droopy leaves. Cotoneasters are tough plants. It'll be fine.


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