The kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), a relative of the silk floss tree, is not a good choice for small backyards. This rainforest giant can grow to 200 feet (61 m.) tall, adding height at a rate of 13-35 feet (3.9 - 10.6 m.) per year. The trunk can spread out to 10 feet (3 m.) in diameter. The enormous roots can lift cement, sidewalks, anything! If your goal is to keep the kapok tree small enough to fit your garden, you have your work cut out for you. The key is to do kapok tree trimming very regularly. Read on for information about cutting back kapok trees.
Kapok Tree Pruning
Are you wondering how to prune a kapok tree? Trimming a kapok tree can be hard for a homeowner if the tree already scrapes the sky. However, if you start early and act regularly, you should be able to keep a young tree in check. The first rule of trimming a kapok tree is to establish one main trunk. To do this, you must start by cutting back kapok trees’ competing leaders. You need to remove all competing trunks (and vertical branches) every three years. Continue this for the first two decades of the tree’s life in your yard. When you are cutting back kapok trees, you’ll have to remember branch trimming too. Kapok tree pruning must include reducing the size of branches with included bark. If they get too big, they can spit from the tree and damage it. The best way to reduce the size of branches with included bark is to prune out some secondary branches. When you are kapok tree trimming, trim out secondary branches toward the edge of the canopy, as well as those with included bark in the branch union. Cutting back kapok trees’ low branches involves reduction cuts on those branches that will need to be removed later. If you do this, you won’t have to make large, hard-to-heal pruning wounds later. This is because the trimmed branches will grow more slowly than aggressive, untrimmed branches. And the bigger a pruning wound, the more likely it is to cause decay.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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