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Trimming a Norfolk Island Pine

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by Tbone1 on December 19, 2006 12:08 PM
I just picked up a 5 foot Norfolk Island Pine from a friend who said it was too big for their room. We got it home and it looks a little too big here. I'd like to cut it back but after doing some reading here I'm getting the point that cutting an NIP back isn't recommended.

I understand that cutting back the limbs to make it more narrow will result in shoots growing sideways, but what will happen if I knock a foot off the top? If that also isn't recommended, I'll have to find a 'new' home for this transient.
Thanks for your help!
by margaret e. pell on December 19, 2006 01:04 PM
I don't really know, other than in the wild they are big, normal sized trees. Could you make a Norway Spruce or a Sycamore into a houseplant? I don't know, but I don't think so.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by DowntoEarth on December 19, 2006 01:09 PM

I use to have an almost 11 footer once in my living room. I had cut back some dried tip off a couple of the branches and they never grew back as straight as they were before they were cut since the new growth grew off to side from where they were cut, so they looked a little funny.
Also, if you ever try to root a branch tip, it will keep growing like a branch, not an upright tree and the very top of the tree is almost near impossible to root, even under the best conditions!

Because my tree was so tall, it was very close to touching the ceiling, I HAD to cut it back.
One spring I cut it back maybe 8" and I knew I would get those multiple tips from doing so, so that's why it's not recommended, it's said cutting the top back ruins the Symmetry of the tree, well, I didn't think it did at all, if fact, I thought it looked rather nice! Gave it a more fuller looking top.

So, if you don't mind more than one top/tip, cut away, but I would wait until spring.
by Tbone1 on December 20, 2006 11:54 AM
Thank you for your advice. It was nice to hear that you've had experience with actually cutting a NIP and you were OK with the results. I think trimming the top is in order unless I can find another home for it.
by Jiffymouse on December 21, 2006 09:00 AM
i'm glad you did it too. i'm planning on experimenting on some that i rescued from walmart because of this very question.
by DowntoEarth on December 30, 2006 12:47 PM

I hope your experiments work out well on your rescues! These are great trees, the only problem is, they like cool rooms in winter, sometimes hard to do when your trying to stay warm!

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