pruning rubber trees

paula_4July 23, 2009

I want to stop my rubber tree from growing taller ,I read to clip the growing tip. Can someone tell me what exactly that is? Also is it possible to force the tree to grow bushier without shortening it further?

Thank you for any help.

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Trimming the growing tip means to removing the top bit of the plant...pruning.

The advice was correct. Bushier plants are created by frequent pruning, which by definition shortens the plant afterwards. The rule of thumb is to prune 2/3 to 3/4 of the height you ultimately want the plant to acheive. Doing this frequently will give you a bushy plant at the size you are looking for.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 4:44PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Every branch, including the main stem has a growing tip. Pruning that tip permanently stops elongation of that branch. Another branch may form behind your pruning cut and take over for the one that was pruned, but that branch will never elongate again.

How the tree responds to your pruning ministrations depends on how you approach things. If you don't prune, back-budding (promotes bushiness) is unlikely unless the tree gains considerable vitality. When you DO prune, 3 things usually, but not always, go hand in hand to affect the tree's response - how you prune, the time of the year you prune, and the tree's vitality/energy level when you prune.

If your tree is healthy, and you prune in Jul-Aug, at the peak of vitality, likely all the remaining latent axillary buds (buds in leaf crotches) would be activated on that branch behind the pruning cut, and in some cases, it can even stimulate additional bud activation on other branches - especially if you tip prune several branches @ once. If you prune when energy levels are low, the tree is more likely to back-bud with less proliferance. It may even send up/out only one or two weak branch(es) until cultural conditions improve, or at least until energy levels are increased.

To make it bushy, shorten the tree to 2/3 of the height you want it to be (or, of you want it taller, just remove the main growing tip & the last leaf that emerged), then cut every branch with 4 or more leaves on it back to only 2 leaves. This will soon double the number of branches on your tree as new branches form from the latent buds in leaf axils. After the new branches have 4 leaves on them, cut them back again to 2 leaves and again double the number of branches ..... and so on.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 4:49PM
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Thank you Al and Terpguy, I have a much better understanding of what was meant by growing tip and how it works. I did cut three of the branches and in 6 wks time there is between 8 and 10 inches new growth. I Also made a small cut in a branch just above a leaf to see if it will grow a branch from there. (going on the fact that my 3 yr old 'pealed' a branch and from there it grew a new one)
Again, thank you so much for your help, I'm sure I will be posting more questions with some of my other plants. (It's my new hobby)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 7:17PM
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Ive read about pruning but Im not sure where the new growth will occur?
My tree is about 6 feet tall but it is only one main steam. I want to reduce the height and force it to branch out. Is it too late? will it ever be able to grow new branches by the base to become a bushier plant? How should I proceed so my plant doesnt look like a string bean!

Thanks for you advice

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 10:19PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you're still following the thread, it would be helpful to know where you live, as geography plays an important role in determining when various practices are prudent or ill-advised. You might consider adding something to your user info (like my 'zone 5b-6a mid-MI) that will help others offer well-considered suggestions and advice.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:07PM
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