Tree Sculpting

‘Sculpting’ sounds arty. But it IS fun, creative and sometimes necessary to shape trees and other plants by pruning them. Knowing the purpose as well as the response of a particular plant to a pruning technique is the key to success. Some plants are better left untouched in their natural habit: Magnolias for example develop unsightly crowded growth when cut even slightly. Often I am confronted with plants that have grown too large for the space within a garden. Reducing the size is a simple task for some but not always with an aesthetical or lasting result. Through pollarding, clipping or stooling a large tree can be salvaged and become a feature while preserving privacy from the neighbours’ or providing the right amount of shade required.

‘Topiary’ is well established in European gardens in form of box or yew cones and balls. The scope of different plants that respond to various forms of pruning has not been explored much. Fashionable ‘Tropical gardens’ use stooled trees as Catalpa, Ailanthus and Paulownia to grow lush giant leaves – changing the natural habit dramatically into something we want. I have been experimenting with various plants using different pruning techniques and also made metal frames for climbers. A relentless and time consuming passion...
Consist of cutting back the new growth each winter, to a specific point along the branch, or trunk of a tree. This can be a Lime or Plain tree for example. There are many choices. This Lime Tree used to have a natural shape in 1987 before being reduced ti a 60cm trunk. 20 years of building up a framework from the following regrowth has given it an umbrella shape as well as controlled its size.


A I L A N D   Gardens by Aila Cinar