Trees and Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

Carrollton, TX (Zone 7B)
Avatar for joykenyran
Question by joykenyran
January 2, 2006
Our Poplar tree looks like it has died on one side. It did not put out any leaves on one side this year. I was told the life of these trees is only 15 years - is this true? I know it is not 15 years old yet. We have two pine trees planted very close to our house in the backyard. How would we prune these trees? They are too tall and wide. Someone told us we can't trim from the top. I really don't want to take them down. We can't find any landscape people that are any good. We have tried them several times and they have butchered up everything we have. I have some paper whites bulbs and I want to plant them in the yard. When can I plant them and do the multiply?
Thank you,
Joyce Raney, Carrollton, Texas

Answer from NGA
January 2, 2006

Those trees are short lived due to a tendency to develop problems down the line. The fact that it did not produce leaves on one side indicates that side is probably dead. I would replace it with a quality species now as this is going to be necessary in time anyway.

If a pines is pruned back farther than where there are living needles on a branch that branch will not regrow. Therefore if you have a branch that is too long you need to cut it back to the trunk or where it joins another branch. There is therefore not a good way to keep a pine more compact due to the fact that they won't regrow from a more severe pruning like most other tree species will. If you want a pine tree to not be so large your best bet is to plant a more dwarf species such as Japanese Black pine.

Plant the paperwhites either in full sun or in an area shaded by a deciduous tree. That way their foliage can get light in late winter to early spring, a critical replenishing period for the bulbs.

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