how do i prune my Norfolk Island Pine

(Question)

Hello,
My indoor-grown Norfolk Island Pine began life as a potted Christmas tree. As the tree grew, I realized that, in fact, there were 2 separate trees within the 1 pot, giving the illusion of a fuller tree for the holiday. Eventually I cut 1 of the trees close to the soil, eliminating it from the pot to allow better growth for the remaining tree.
My tree is now approximately 4.5 feet tall, about 3 feet from the ceiling, with a branch-span of approximately 4 feet. Though I’m quite fond of my green roommate, my apartment is very tiny, and this tree takes up most of my living room space.
1. Was it a mistake to reduce the 2 trees to 1?
1. Is there a successful way to trim/prune this tree?
2. If pruning is not possible, can you suggest where I might find a good home for it?
Thank you for your consideration.
Regards,
Camelia

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardens.

Congratulations on the excellent care of your Norfolk Island Pine. In general as Norfolk Island pines grow upward, the trunk thickens and the branches increase in size. It is usually suggested that the only pruning that needs to be done is to remove the brown tips and dead branches. Cutting of the growing tip will destroy its natural symmetrical shape.

That being said, if you want to control the height of the plant you can cut off the top of the tree ( growing point), just above, where the branches grow out from the trunk. You will be removing the leader of the tree. This will now be the new top of the tree. Don’t worry about the cut, in time it will heal over. Before you make this cut, make sure you are 100% certain how tall you want the tree. You have only one chance since once you make the cut you can’t glue the top back on.

Now that the top is cut, you need to reshape the entire tree by decreasing the length of all of the branches making sure to keep it’s natural cone shape- shorter branches on top, longer on the bottom.

If you decide to find a home for your Norfolk Island Pine you could try contacting a Horticultural Society in your area. I’m sure that one of their members might like to take home this beautiful specimen.

Additional information on the care of this plant can be found at the following website: https://www.southernstates.com/articles/norfolk-island-pine-care.aspx