Stimulating lower tree branch growth?

rogerv_gwApril 8, 2014

We have some mature pittosporum tennufolia that our neighbors have hacked the lower branches off of, often leaving a foot long stump, and often with breakage. The trees have survived this, and I've cut off the extra that they didn't feel like removing (or couldn't reach).

I'd like to know if there's some way to stimulate lower branch growth on these couple of trees. I've heard that if you make some cuts in the trunk, that might work, but I don't really know how to do that.

Has anyone out there had any success with this, or know anyone that has? I could really use some advice.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the term you are looking for is: rejuvenation pruning ...

i have no experience with this plant.. so i googled it for you ...

it does not involve what you are thinking ... most plant have dormant buds.. that will trigger when a large branch is cut.. but it might take half the summer... but the key is usually that you want this to happen low to the ground... as you dont want a whole new bush.. at height... the stub left.. will eventually fail ... unless you are really thorough with followup pruning ...

hit the link.. while you are waiting for specific replies...

all that.. or the common rules of shrub pruning dont apply to this plant.. and i will be chastised mercilessly ....


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:05PM
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Much more shrubby in nature than tree-like, removal of the lower branches generally results in a bare trunked specimen. Woody plants that will sprout from low on the trunk (under existing branches) are limited and if this was one, would have done so already. In most cases, new branch growth will only appear on the upper portions of the plant.

Try planting something low and leafy and shrubby in front of the pitts to hide the bare legs. It's about as good as you are going to get.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:13PM
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Yes, my backup plan is to plant alphonse karr bamboo, which I am also using as lower screening (not second story) elsewhere. Since it probably would not do well under the trees, I should also take out one more pittosporum (leaving two for second story screening) to give the bamboo enough sun.

I just need to talk my wife into it, which at the moment is a monumental task. I was hoping to do something with our existing trees, but looks like our neighbors screwed us there. Maybe in a couple of years when she decides it's time to plant something, who knows?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:54PM
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The bamboo can tolerate partial shade easily. And it can - in time - provide sufficient height for even second story screening. You might want to also check out various Fargesia species - another clumping bamboo and very shade tolerant. And a range of heights available, depending on species.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:14PM
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