Some Firethorn questions. Pruning/shaping.

Chub

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Some Firethorn questions. Pruning (trimmed pics added)

I've had this "tree" about 4 years now. It seems to be doing really well. I feed monthly, and just basically trim back new growth. I'm wondering if it's about time to start shaping it? I'd really like to prune it back quite a bit. Also what time of the year should I cut it back? It's still flowering and putting out more fruit/berries. It's a 12" tall from the top of the pot and 3/4" thick at the moss line, with an inch still below the moss......Thx for any help. Forgot to add it's indoor year aound under fluorescents.
 

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jk_lewis

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I'm surprised that you've kept it successfully indoors for that long. Is there a reason? Keeping it indoors is the reason the leaves are disproportionately large for the size of the tree.

The tree is in dire need of a haircut. Based on your 12-inch report and the size of the trunk, it should be no larger than 6-8 inches. That will, of course, make the leaves look even larger.

Indoors, you are, in essence, forcing it to bloom and fruit all year long. I assume you are fertilizing regularly or it would have declined severely, being forced to "work" that hard. So, it's perfectly OK to prune it now.

Look first for interior branches that hide the branching from the viewer. Then shorten the outer branches by at least 1/3 to start. In a tree this size, you probably can do all the shaping you need with your scissors.

Be aware that pruning scars take a very, very long time to heal on Pyracantha, so try to make as many cuts on the backside of branches as you can. It won't always be possible. After you get it in the shape you want it to be, I'd advise that you keep up with the pruning so you won't create such large scars again from a major pruning.

I'd really recommend that you keep the tree outside when the weather permits -- spring, summer and fall. Only the hardiest of varieties of this species will survive in the ground in a zone 5 winter, so you undoubtedly will have to protect it for the winter. It would appreciate some cold-weather dormancy, though, so I'd suggest you try to give it that. A cold frame should be sufficient.
 
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Chub

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J.....Thx for the help. Maybe it works because it's in my "mancave" in the basement where it isn't too dry or warm. Plus I mist twice a day, in the morning before work and at night before bed. The fluorescents are on 16 hours. Roughly 5am to 9-10pm.
I left it out the 2nd summer, which is how it got the moss. Actually I don't like leaving it out because I work long hours and am gone some weekends so I'm afraid it will dry out too much in the heat. Plus I have a pretty big aphid problen with the roses in my yard and I don't want them to hit the Firethorn. I just had to toss an Umbrella tree that I left out that was totally infested with them. I couldn't get rid of them.
I tell ya I'm nervous about cutting it back..lol. Should I trim a little at a time or all at once?
 

jk_lewis

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Bite the bullet. You tree will survive. Pyracantha may get aphids, but I have never seen them.

You live in Albany, NY. What on earth do YOU know about heat? My Pyracantha are out every day (and night) of the year. Ditto when I lived in Florida. They're almost impossible to damage from weather (except extreme cold) OR insects.
 

sfhellwig

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Aphids are very easily managed with insecticidal soap. Very low impact as far as insecticides go. I don't think you would call it organic but it is derived, not chemically formulated. Very little impact on beneficials.
 

bretts

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Well done Chub. You are the one in a hundred exception that is able to grow outside trees indoors. If it is working and you enjoy it inside I encourage you to keep enjoying it inside.
Although it would be in need of a repot when the time is right.
I would trim the tree down to about half the size and do a repot at the same time.
If you are scared to trim the tree I am sure that scares the hell outta ya :p
 

Chub

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Well did I prune enough? Was easy once I started, the first cut was tough though..lol.
 

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Chub

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Before and after.
 

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milehigh_7

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Nice haircut chub, good to see you talking about trees.
 

jk_lewis

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Very nice start, and enough for a good while. The tree has nice lines in the lower half.

Eventually, however, you will want to do something about this long arched branch (arrow). It SEEMS to cross the entire tree, like a McD's golden arches. It may just be an optical illusion, though.
 

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Chub

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Thx....Yea it does cross. I was looking at that, was thinking about trimming it way back to just to the right of the brach next to your arrow. But I though that might be too much to take off.
 

Chub

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Very nice start, and enough for a good while. The tree has nice lines in the lower half.

Eventually, however, you will want to do something about this long arched branch (arrow). It SEEMS to cross the entire tree, like a McD's golden arches. It may just be an optical illusion, though.

JKL....It's coming back real good, putting out lots of new shoots, and even new berry clusters since I pruned it. Would it be o.k. now to prune back that arching branch? Or should I wait?
 

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