Annoy me tree

Do you have any parts of your garden that are just a little bit annoying? I'm not talking about a planting bed that you want to redo, or an ugly shrub or tree you want to remove -- those are major things. I'm talking about something that is probably quite minor, invisible to anybody else, but bugs the heck out of you every time you see it.



I've got one of those (at least one). This twisted white pine (Pinus strobus 'Torulosa') bothers me whenever I look at it.

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The tree itself I love! The happy, curly needles are so fun and interesting:


The problem I have is this branch:


Which branch? Here's a closer look:


Still don't see it? Okay, what about if I do this:


Do you see it now? On the left there's a branch that's just too big for the rest of the tree.

I planted this in 2007 I think, but I didn't notice the branch until a couple of years later.

Every year since then I look at this and wonder what to do about it. How do I get the tree back into shape?


There are three options. The first is to do nothing. This one is easy, but it doesn't solve my problem.

The second option is to cut that entire branch off. This may be the best long-term option, and in a few more years it may be the obvious choice because I may want all of the lowest branches removed.

All of these small lower branches will eventually
be removed. They haven't really gotten any larger
since the tree was planted. The big branch in question
is facing away from the camera in this shot.

For now though, it seems extreme so I'm not seriously considering it.

The final option, and one that didn't become obvious to me until I started studying these photos, is to prune the branch, getting the tree back into balance:


If I cut about where the red line is, I'll end up with this:


That actually looks quite good to me, and I think it's the option I'll choose. I want to study this from other angles too, as although it may look good in this photo, seeing it from the left may reveal a problem with this option. I'll consider it for a few more weeks before I do anything -- there's no real hurry.

Or maybe there is, as this tree is growing much faster than my pre-purchase research indicated it would:


(In fact it may eventually get too large for this area, and need to be removed. That's 10 years or more in the future though, so I'm not worrying about that yet.)

Still, I love this tree, and don't want to do anything that would harm it.

I certainly don't want to make it even more annoying to me!


What do you think?

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Jennifer  – (March 9, 2012 at 8:20 AM)  

Alan, I noticed the offending branch right away, and it bugs me too! I think your third option of pruning the branch is the best way to go. The spot you indicated in the pic is the perfect place to cut. The remaining part of the branch will keep the rest of the tree in balance rather than leaving a big hole.

Also, keep in mind that there will be less weight on the branch when the end is pruned off. The remaining branch will raise a little and be a few inches closer to the main trunk.

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (March 9, 2012 at 9:31 AM)  

Yes that would bug me no end too. I actually have something similar going on with a large shub/tree and really need to do something with it.

Gerhard Bock  – (March 9, 2012 at 9:51 AM)  

I agree, I'd cut at the red line. You're the master of your domain, don't let plants bug you :-).

sandy lawrence –   – (March 9, 2012 at 10:03 AM)  

I agree. Add my vote to the orange line prune option. Jennifer is on the money with her reduced weight comment; the remainder of that pruned branch will lift up a little towards the tree trunk.

lilafee  – (March 9, 2012 at 10:17 AM)  

My rule when pruning something like that is do a little at a time and then take a look at it. So prune that branch first like you want to in the final option and see. You can always do more if it still bothers you.

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