The Q&A Archives: Pruning Trees

Question: My wife wants to replace a dead shade tree in our back yard with one a of similar size (about 8-10ft high). We like weeping willows, but are not sure if they (or any other potentially large tree) can be maintained at this size with regular pruning. Any information about controlling the size of trees, and/or recommendations for shade trees which would do well at the size we want would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: It's difficult to keep a tree pruned to fit into a space - it's far easier to select a tree that will reach the desired size at maturity and then slow its growth so radical pruning is not necessary. You're looking for what we classify as a patio tree. These trees are well-behaved, and generally do not need regular pruning to keep them in shape. Acacia, Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree), Garrya elliptica (Coast Silktassle), Lagunaria patersonii (Primrose Tree), Magnolia, or Albizia (Silk Tree) are all good choices for your region. An added bonus with each of these small trees is the seasonal bloom they provide.

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