How to Prune a Weeping Bottle Brush Tree

Overview

Native to the Austrailian continent, weeping bottle brush trees--or callistemon, as they are know botanically--are a family of large evergreen shrubs or small trees that produce bristly flowers in the spring and summer. Prized for their dramatic and long blooming season, bottle brush trees also attract hummingbirds. More than 20 cultivars are hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 through 11. Versatile in the landscape, the plant presents a symmetrical arching canopy. It does not require, but will tolerate, pruning.

Step 1

Establish a tree shape out of the natural shrub form by removing all branches and sucker growth on the bottom third to one-half of the weeping bottle brush tree's main trunks.

Step 2

Control the number of trunks by removing any undesired trunks when the tree is young and cutting down any weak, under-performing or damaged trunks on the mature plant.

Step 3

Inspect the canopy occasionally for broken, diseased or dying branches. Remove the damanged branches when you see them at any time of the year. Cut back to healthy wood or down to the parent branch just outside of the slightly swollen branch collar.

Step 4

Trim the lower canopy as needed for clearance or appearance with long blade scissors or mechanical shears held parallel with the bottom of the canopy. Make a clean, level cut around the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand saw
  • Long blade shears

References

  • Floridata: Callistemon viminalis
  • University of Florida Extension: U.S. Forest Service Fact Sheet on Red Bottlebrush
Keywords: weeping bottle brush, pruning bottle brush, pruning callistemon

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.