how to prune new zealand tea tree bush

gwald(9B)April 9, 2013

hi - I have a new zealand tea tree bush. I have several, but one of them has a solid inner "trunk", but the outer branches seemed to have gotten too weighted down and now they are very low so the bush does not have any "fullness" anymore. I think the weight of the rain helped to push the outer ranches down, but I don't think they will recover. I did some judicious pruning to decrease the weight of each branch as much as possible. I'm wondering if I should top the bush and if that would encourage new growth from the main trunk. Any help is appreciated!

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Sara Malone Zone 9b

These are rugged plants (in the correct zones) and people prune them in a variety of different ways. 'Topping' it isn't really a good idea, but you can do some reduction cuts to shorten the branches (including the leader). They look very attractive when pruned to single and multi-trunked small trees, as well. Most will get from about 5-25' tall, so allow plenty of room. This generally isn't a good choice for a spot where you want something to stay small (there are a few dwarf/prostrate varieties). One reason that the branches are weighted down right now is all those flowers!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Thanks Sara - Good point about the blooms. I really didn't see the branches like that before all of the flowers! I will wait a while before doing anything and then maybe do some light tipping of the branches. I'm hesitant to top.

thx again,

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:04PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

that plant is glorious ...

a prime architectural specimen..

and let me get this straight.. it does look like all the others.. so you want to make it??

crikey.. crimmieny.. and lordy.. all rolled into one.. step away from the plant.. and admire it for what it is ...



ps: its your plant.. do whatever you want with it.. but it is sublime.. as it is ... maybe the others should be rejuvenated to look more like this one .... never get caught in one box.. look outside it ...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:42PM
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hi Ken - I think the true effect doesn't come through in the picture. I actually think the plant is a bit "at risk" with branches growing so far out and away. I really don't think anyone would think this is a healthy thing if they saw it up close. Yes it has a ton of blooms and they look great, but I want it around for a long time! I'm proceeding with caution, so don't get too worried :-)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

These guys get huge. Ken it will not look like this for long...hence my comment about making sure it's in a spot that can accommodate it. Some people use them as large hedges, they can be single specimen shrubs or small trees, etc.
gwald - pruning is generally done either to shape to tree form or to encourage more bloom. I don't grow them for the blooms but for the foliage (I mostly have 'Dark Shadows') so I can't speak to how effective this is. If you do prune, be careful not to cut back to old wood.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:40PM
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