The Q&A Archives: Norfolk Island Pine Too Big

Question: I have a Norfolk Island pine that is getting way out of hand for the space I have for it. It is approximately 6' tall,and generally in good health,although lately it has been shedding some if itself and not only the bottom branches.
My question is can this plant be topped, that is cut off and rooted and if so what is the best procedure for doing this? The compost heap seems so harsh but my choices and space being limited it would seem the only other recourse. Hope you can help!!

Answer: It is possible to cut off the top and root it, but you will need to be patient. Here's the technique:

Cut off the top of the plant so that you have two tiers of branches. This should give you a piece that is 12 to 18" tall. Now, prune off the bottom tier of branches close to the stem. Insert the cutting into a moist rooting medium--soilless seedstarting mix should be fine--making sure that the area where you pruned the branches off is buried in the soil. Moisten well and place in a loosely-tied clear plastic bag. Place in a bright spot--but out of direct sun--where the tem is 65 to 75F. It may take weeks or months for the cutting to form roots. You'll know when you see new growth.

Good Luck!

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