Multi Trunked Norfolk Pine

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by VicGrove, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. VicGrove

    VicGrove Member

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    We recently bought a house in southern California that has a Norfolk pine with 3 trunks. The main trunk is 18-20 feet, another is about 15 feet and another is sort of wrapped around the main trunk at the base and is about 13 or 14 feet high and growing at a 60-70 degree angle to the ground.

    I've read that it is best to prune off multiple trunks. Is that true and should it be done for a tree this size? I am somewhat concerned that the shortest trunk will not be stable given the angle is it growing at.

    Ideally, I would like this tree to grow to 50 feet or so to provide shade on the west side of our house. If I allow it to continue to grow with multiple trunks, will that limit the overall heigth?
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Can you post a photo?

    Multiple trunks in Araucaria are often a sign of past frost damage (the lead shoot is killed, and two or more replacement stems develop from below the damage). But if it is from the base, then it might be several separate trees planted very close together.
     
  3. VicGrove

    VicGrove Member

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    Here are four pictures, the last one is a picture of the third trunk that is growing out an an angle (I couldn't get a wider shot due to the proximity of the house).
     

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  4. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    Three trees too close together that are going to cause you problems in general when they take out your fence... Other than that, though, the leaning one will likely straighten up at some point.
     
  5. VicGrove

    VicGrove Member

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    Can I seperate and remove one or two of them without killing the other? Would I be able to replant the ones I remove?
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Looks like three separate trees planted much too close together. I'd cut the two sloping ones out, just saw off at ground level. You won't be able to save them, but the retained specimen will grow better for the reduced competition.
     
  7. VicGrove

    VicGrove Member

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    Thanks for your help. Will the remaining specimen straighten out if I take out the other two? Currently, it is leaning slightly toward the fence.
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd suspect it is a bit too set in its ways for the lower trunk to straighten, but the upper trunk will probably straighten a bit and new growth will be straight. It doesn't look to be enough of a lean to threaten anyone's safety.
     
  9. Luke Harding

    Luke Harding Active Member

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    Just to pick up on a comment made about why Norfolk Island Pines are multi-stemmed. They may become multi-stemmed as a result of frost damage but they are also deliberately pruned to develop the habit. I have a tree at home which has 3 main stems and it has been coppiced. It is one of the few conifers which can be coppiced successfully and I have kept mine as a large 'bush'. I bought mine like it, so they may well be sold like it in CA too.
     
  10. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    Most in the US are potted up with 6 - 12 in a single pot, from seed. Not natural coppicing, but man-made mischief...
     
  11. DGuertin

    DGuertin Active Member 10 Years

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    That being said, I have 2 Bunya that have coppiced that I've left alone as-is...
     

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