The Q&A Archives: trimming topiary Austrian pines

Question: I purchased 5 topiary Austrian pines last December and they look great but will need trimming to maintain their shape. They have candled out up to 6-8 inches on some of the branches. When is the best time to do this, and how much can I cut back?

Answer: The only way to prune these is to break off a portion of the growth candle at the tip of each branch, this is done in early spring as they begin to expand. When you do this is stimulates branching and shortens the new growth for the coming year. The new growth develops in proportion to the amount of the candle that is left or removed -- once the needles are out it is too late to do this. Unfortunately I think it may be a bit late in the season to do this now.

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