Pruning Joe Kozey
Can I prune about 18" from the top of my Joe Kozey tree? It is 4 years old, growing happily in a whiskey barrel, 8.5 feet high. We are moving and the mover says that it is too tall to deal with. Thanks for your help.
Montgomery County Maryland
Sciadopitys vericillata (Japanese umbrella pine) is a member of the pine family, but not one that tolerates pruning.
When pruning is absolutely necessary, it is recommended to only trim back the new growth of the current season or any dieback.
If you must remove the top of the tree, it may not die, just not put out any more vertical growth. A rule of thumb for pruning trees says to not remove more than 1/4th of a tree at a time. Since you have it in a container and presumably don'e want it to be very tall anyway, it may be satisfactory for you, at least for some time.