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lenoreepstein

Pruning suggestions for my gangly Schefflera

I'd like to give my scheff a real haircut. but I'm not sure how far I should go this time of year, or exactly what to do to get the plant where I want it to go. It's come a long way since I repotted it last October, at which point it hardly had any feeder roots. Ultimately I would like it to grow into a nice dense bush.

The plant sulked after repotting, then grew slowly and steadily all spring and summer, but it didn't really take off until I innocently trimmed off several badly sunburned leaves at the ends of the longest branches a little over a month ago; about 3/4 of the growth near the base of the plant appeared since then.

The plants will live outside for at least another month and I'll put them out on sunny days for some time after that, so I'd expect it to keep growing strongly until the end of September.

I'm going for a dense bushy look with this plant. I'm intent on cutting back the two longest branches to within a few inches of the stems they originate from, because I'm really tired of looking at them, and I'm hoping the new growth near the base should partly compensate for the loss of leaf area. The thing is that I'm not sure if I should do anything else now to direct the growth, or if I should wait until next summer to prune it in a way that starts to balance out the different parts of the tree.

Like I said, I desperately want to get rid of the two longest branches, but will listen to reason if it's a terrible idea.

Here's what it looked like in May:


Here some pics I took last night. Please don't mock my earlier attempts to 'shape' the tree; I knew not what I did!!

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