Trimming a japanese pencil holly shrub

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Old 06-07-05, 04:33 PM
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Trimming a japanese pencil holly shrub

Hope I got that name right, but you get the idea. It's like a boxwood leafed, very narrow shrub that the limbs grow straight up. We have 3 in a row along a wall, about 5-6' apart. Due to the flow of water, I assume, they're growing at different rates. All are healthy. I'm not comfortable with topping the tallest one, but it's about 10" taller than the shortest, about 5" taller than the middle one, next to it. How can I even these up without ruining the shape? If I top the taller 2 to match the shortest one, will the top begin to fill out from the cuts and ruin the shape? Maybe cut out the tallest branches at the very base, or is that necessary?

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Old 06-09-05, 07:17 PM
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Topping trees is not recommended. It encourages lateral growth, throws the root ratio off, and comprises the integrity of the appearance of your planting.

One should never plant a straight row of any species according to one of my Dept. of Agriculture Extension Agents who taught the Master Gardening class I took in Norfolk, VA, in a previous life. Plants simply do not grow at the same rate and if one dies you are left with a hole in the line up. My Agent recommended mixing 3-5 species in order to get out of the trap of a line up of a single species and the problems associated with doing so.

Pencil holly never needs pruning as it's always neat and trim with it's vertical growth patterm. It's a long liver, lasting for decades and does best in Growing Zones 5-8.
 
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