Dwarf falsecypress has big dreams, cut short!

One great thing about winter...

...is that we don't have to do anything in the garden.

Yet we do go out when the weather's reasonable. There's always something to see and we can prune, just so long as we stop short of hard clips that would expose inner, still-tender wood to suddenly plunging temperatures


This week we pruned a falsecypress to keep its size down

and to harvest some of its rich, sensuous greens for holiday decorations.

We begin (above) with two Hinoki falsecypresses (Chamaecyparis obtusa varieties, probably 'Gracilis') flanking the bay window. They're just big enough, bordering on too big.

This is a species that can reach 100' in the wild. Its dwarf forms have potential ranging from 6' to 60'.  Here is one (below, left), probably another 'Gracilis', that's overgrown its space. It could be reduced by pruning, with skill, over a few years' time.

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We'd rather not see our two charges get that large. So in September we cut one to reduce it to where it can grow for about two years before needing another trim.

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On the right, we're finished. Can you tell? If you can't tell it was clipped unless you have a yardstick such as the building or ladder in both "before" and "after" photos, that's good. We want it to retain its natural, irregularly pyramidal shape.


We left its companion unclipped, holding off until winter so we'd be able to renew our stash of fresh cut greens for the New Year.

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Once again, after we finished cutting, we wondered, "Does it even show?!"


Now the two are a matched set once again.

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While they're outside, dreaming of being all they can be, we're inside, enjoying the greenery.


When we pruned together in September, you told me we could put the arborvitae and hemlock branches into plastic bags on the cool garage floor and they'd be good for the holidays. We did it but didn't really believe you until last week when we took them out and shared the greens with friends. They looked like they had been cut the day before! Thanks! - D.C. -