Podocarpus shaping


Old 06-25-07, 09:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 142
Podocarpus shaping

I have a slow growing podocarpus, about 5' high. I believe it's a P. maki, but not 100% sure about that. It's grown very slowly in the 12 years or so I've had it. I've never trimmed it or shaped it, but would now like to. Any tips on this? In the past year, the main 'trunk' has shot up in a stringy growth and is now 'tipping' over. Can I cut the main trunk back to stimulate lower plant growth? Thnx.
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Old 09-07-07, 04:29 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland zone 7
Posts: 1,716
Podocarpus grows in an open fashion. You can prune for a denser appearance. I would suggest you hand prune the tall limbs. Here's some helpful info.

From this site with more info then quoted here:

"The tree grows in an open manner with large spaces between the branches creating a pleasing, irregular oval silhouette in middle and old age.

This is one of a few trees which can be pruned into a nice hedge. The dark green foliage and dense growth creates a formal mass. It looks better when pruned with a hand pruner, not sheared with a hedge trimmer."

From this site:

"Japanese Yew (Podocarpus) is among the few evergreens that attain such a delicate form. It has a tendency to send out long upright branches that need heading back to keep the plant full. Side branches also can be pruned to encourage column-type growth."

This is a bonsai site but says:

"Pruning and wiring: Young Podocarpus plants have a tendancy to grow straight up, with no side branching. This is easily remidied by cutting them back hard, which will result in aggressive back budding. Pinch back new growth as necessary, and remove oversized needles. If half of the bud is pinched away, back budding is stimulated, and leaf reduction will occur. Cutting the leaves will result only in brown edges; smaller replacement leaves will not necessarily form. Old Podocarpus wood becomes very rigid and is difficult to bend."

This site says podicarpus is "Tree-Likes (Thin-out, many small cuts)". It has some good info and a diagram that should be helpful.

July and August are good times to prune these.

More info here.


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