The Q&A Archives: Pine Tree Too Large Prune Or Remove?

Question: I have a 13 year old Pine in my front yard. It is 20 inch diameter & 35-40 ft tall. some branches are 12-15 ft wide.
I am wary that the branches will grow into my neighbors, as well as my own house & cause damage. My question is; do I prune and reduce the height, or do I remove the tree altogether. The tree looks healthy. I have been told that a "crown reduction" would slow the growth both vertically and the diameter of the branches. I had the tree pruned two years ago & the growth since then has been phenomenal. I do not have the space for a tree that will be 50 ft tall and 30 ft wide. Please show me some options to help me make a good decision.
Thank You,
H Grace

Answer: It's true that a crown reduction will lower the height of a tree and slow its growth as it recovers. Other ways to reduce the size of your tree include drop-crotching and root pruning. However, it will be an on-going process to keep the tree small and can eventually turn into quite an investment. As you've discovered, pruning stimulates new growth, especially if done at the wrong time of year. If you're afraid the tree will outgrow its site, or become a nuisance, I think removing it now while it's still relatively small (for a tree!) would be your best course of action. For other opinions, phone your local Cooperative Extension office (909-387-2171) and ask them for a list of certified arborists in your area. An arborist can assess the tree and predict its growth rate, after which they can make educated recommendations based upon the tree's health, size of the site, etc.

Best wishes with your pine!

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