Tag Archives: Aesthetic Pruning

The Craft and art of Pine Pruning

I have some pine trees in my garden strategically placed so on rainy winter days, I can stare out the window and let my mind wander as I enjoy them. Usually a few thoughts come to the forefront. First I appreciate their perseverance. By January, this is a much needed reminder that I can persevere through the rest of winter. Then my thoughts drift to their beauty. Color and shape being the most obvious. But if I am in a real need of a pick-me-up, I begin to massage my pruning plan for how I want them to grow and look in the garden. There is excitement and hope in those trees just waiting to be appreciated.

If you find yourself gazing at your garden pine trees and itching to get your clippers involved then I am offering two classes for you.

The first class will set the ground work for understanding how pine trees grow and what techniques to use for a predictable response. There is a lot of information out there on how to prune pine trees. We will sift through as much as we can so the next time you hear about a technique, you can decide if it is useful for your trees or not. We will talk about Japanese black, red and white pine, scotch pine, shore pine and eastern white pine. We will also brush up on other pines often found in the conifer collectors garden.

In the second class we will talk about how to develop a design plan for your trees. We will talk about how to read your tree and identify features that you can reveal or develop over the years. Using the techniques from the first class we will come up with a 3-5 year plan for a tree (or two) in your garden.

To sign up for both classes, click here. Sunday, January 24th and 31st, 2021 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm via Zoom. $60.00

To sign up for the first class only, click here. Sunday January 24th, 2021 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm via Zoom. $40.00

To sign up for the second class only, click here. (Recommended for those who already have a strong foundation in pine physiology. Both Japanese and North American) January 31st, 2021 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm via Zoom. $40.00.

I hope to see you there!

Go Wild with Conifers at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show!

This year I had the honor of presenting with Sara Malone (of Form and Foliage) at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. We talked about the various conifers that are perfect to grow in Northern California and how to take care of them once you do. We had some wonderful examples of trees with us and a ton of great photo’s but I was really impressed with the amount of questions and interest from the audience. If I didn’t mention it then I will say it now. Don’t worry, my experience tells me Conifer Syndrome does not happen quickly but builds slowly until one day your realize you have rows of conifers in pots waiting to be planted. It only took about six months for me. Nothing to worry about at all.

Its been six months since we gave the presentation… In California, fall is the perfect time to get those trees in the ground. Are you ready?

Start your pruning plan early.
Start your pruning plan early.

These pines work well to add structure, texture and color all while keeping eager tourists out of the planting beds.
These pines work well to add structure, texture and color all while keeping eager tourists out of the planting beds.

The natural from of this cultivar is to be thick and full but in an urban situation it also need to be open so people can't hid behind it. A more open tree also lets light and air get to the back of the tree to keep those shaded branches alive.
The natural from of this cultivar is to be thick and full but in an urban situation it also need to be open so people can’t hid behind it. A more open tree also lets light and air get to the back of the tree to keep those shaded branches alive.

With the tree more open, the back and lower branches will stay alive and grow to fill out space. I love the play of light and shadow against the wall.
With the tree more open, the back and lower branches will stay alive and grow to fill out the space. I love the play of light and shadow against the wall.

 

May Maples

In the San Francisco Bay area May is a great time for spring pruning of Japanese maples of all kinds. Pruning this time of year sets them up for looking great the rest of the summer.

Before photo of Japanese Maple with Blue Spruce
Before photo of Japanese Maple with Blue Spruce

After View of Japanese Maple thinned and opened up for the view.
After View of Japanese Maple thinned and opened up for the view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This winter we will do some work on the blue spruce below. They are growing as a pair and already the Spruce looks better with all the dead leaves brushed off the top of its branches.

View from the kitchen sink.
View from the kitchen sink.

Forest tapestry inside the dinning room. Aesthetic Pruning can enhance how the tree is experienced from the inside as well as outside view.
Forest tapestry inside the dinning room. Aesthetic Pruning can enhance how the tree is experienced from the inside as well as outside view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the views from the second story windows. It really looks like a living tapestry inside.

After photo. A little more breathing room and some selective cuts to establish the structure for future growth.
After photo. A little more breathing room and some selective cuts to establish the structure for future growth.

A little wild looking. It needs to grow into its leaves and establish a structure.
A little wild looking. It needs to grow into its leaves and establish a structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More maples!

After photo - view from outside.
After photo – view from outside.

View from outside before pruning.
View from outside before pruning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the next view from inside.

View from inside before pruning.
View from inside before pruning.

After pruning - View from inside the living room. The tree was positioned so the trunk and branches are at their best from inside.
After pruning – View from inside the living room. The tree was positioned so the trunk and branches are at their best from inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many maples so little time! I love all the different leaf shapes, colors, structure and light play.

 

 

 

 

Thoughtful pruning of Japanese Maples

These two maples create a wonderful experience at the entry of this home.  In past years they had been sheared into a ball but then let to grow out again.  It left a lot of die-back in the interior.  I pruned out the dead branches, removed crossing branches and unruly growth especially around the eaves of the house.

Before Pruning and Cleaning out of dead wood

Tree on the right has been pruned

After photo of Pruned Japanese Maples