Norfolk Island Pine pruning

Asked June 1, 2016, 2:55 PM EDT

I have a Norfolk Island Pine that is a few years old. I have it inside during the winter and outside during the summer. It is growing well but is getting top heavy. I wondered if pruning it to shape it some would be ok. It's about 3 ft tall now. I was going to transplant it to a bigger pot as well.
Thank you, Lisa Sare

Franklin County Pennsylvania

3 Responses

Norfolk Pine wants to be a very large tree. That means it is trying to send down roots to support a large top. You can shape it by prudent pruning, but expect it to get bushy at the places you cut back. Since this is a tree that can grow 50-65 meters high, you should treat it as a bonsai when you trim it. You are trying to keep all parts of the tree, including the roots, in miniature status..

So in order to keep it smaller keep it in a smaller pot and prune it......correct? Thanks. Lisa

If you do, you need to prune the roots as well as the top growth. It might help you to get a book on bonsai to learn the technique. I'm not familiar with it, but the Japanese are able to keep large trees in a tiny form and keep them alive that way. Normally Norfolk Pines die in a couple of years when they are kept in the house because they are trying to become big. Good Luck.