There is a Styrax japonica on my front lawn. The tree is about 20 years old...

Asked September 27, 2014, 11:22 AM EDT

There is a Styrax japonica on my front lawn. The tree is about 20 years old and is about 30 ft. tall by 30 ft. wide. The canopy has become so dense that very little light reaches the ground beneath the tree resulting in no lawn directly under the tree's canopy. Some heavy limbs come off the main trunk only 3 or 4 ft. from the ground. My questions are: Can the lowest growing from the trunk be cut off to a height of 6 ft. without damaging the tree? Can I thin the canopy to allow more light reach the interior of the tree and the ground? It seems that the tree bloomed more heavily when the canopy was not so dense as it is now. Thanks.

Baltimore County Maryland trees and shrubs pruning strax japonica

1 Response

This is a beautiful tree but dislikes pruning. A lot of the pruning was best done in the early years. Pruning references describe the pruning process as a central leader tree with a short clear trunk. They do not respond well when cut back hard.
At this point, it is recommended to prune no more than 1/4 of the plant at any time. The best time to prune is autumn (when foliage is dropped) to early spring.
mh