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Best Time to Trim Your Norfolk Pine

The Norfolk Pine, as its name suggests, originally grows in Norfolk Island located on the coast of Australia. However, it is now widely cultivated anywhere else as an ornamental tree and houseplant. 

Although it is not a true pine, the Norfolk Pine has rightfully earned the nickname “living Christmas tree” or “triangle tree” due to its symmetrical branches and characteristic triangle outline. On normal days, this tree is a simple yet lovely houseplant, but during the Christmas season, many Norfolk Pines transform into an astonishing specimen as a result of people decorating the tree with lights, garlands, and ornaments. 

How to Trim and Maintain Your Norfolk Pine

Indoor and Outdoor Norfolk Pine

When grown indoors, the Norfolk Pine maintains its small stature. This slow-growing and low-maintenance indoor plant will rarely exceed 5-8 feet. On the other hand, Norfolk Pines growing in nature can grow as tall as 60 metres (200 feet) with a trunk diameter of up to 3 metres (10 feet). 

Given that this tree has natural symmetry, both indoor and outdoor Norfolk Pine don’t require pruning to enhance its shape. However, trimming is required to maintain the tree whenever unwanted dead branches show up.

Caution! Think Before Trimming Any Part of Your Norfolk Pine

As your Norfolk pine grows and increases in height, its trunk and branches also grow thicker. During this period, you should never cut the growing tips off and only seldom should you trim the side limbs to maintain the shape.

Pruning your Norfolk Pine is not a technique that will control the growth of the tree precisely because no further growth will result from the cuts. As a result, if you cut a significant portion off the tip or the sides, you’ll end up with a tree that lacks its tip or one of its sides. These cuts will also destroy the natural symmetry of your tree, resulting in a misshapen pine tree. 

As mentioned, no growth will occur from these cuts. Thus, instead of limiting the growth of your tree, you’re ultimately stopping them from growing on these cut points. Due to this, growth is forced to occur in any other part of the tree, thereby destroying its shape. If that’s not what you’re aiming for, better leave your pine tree untouched. 

Pruning During Dry Periods

Although the Norfolk Pine is extremely drought-resistant, it can still react whenever it doesn’t receive sufficient water. During droughts or dry seasons, this tree will shed dry, brown needles as a survival mechanism against dehydration. When this happens, the needles won’t regrow anymore and you’ll end up with brown barren branches. 

This is the only time you can perform maintenance pruning. You need to prune your Norfolk Pine so you can remove the dead branches that can significantly affect the appearance of your tree. To accomplish pruning effectively, you will need sharp pruning shears to cut the dead limbs near its branching point.

After doing so, don’t forget to hydrate the tree. Water it sufficiently so it can regain its strength and health. 

How to Minimise Pruning Your Norfolk Pine

The Norfolk Pine is a low-maintenance tree. Thus, you don’t really need to prune it unless there are already visible dead limbs that destroy its aesthetics. To minimise the need to prune your Norfolk Pine, you must prevent having brown and dead branches.

One course of action you can take is to keep the soil moist in order to prevent your Norfolk Pine from shedding its needles. As a general rule of thumb, water your plant whenever at the top inch of the soil is dry. 


Pruning is a vital gardening and landscaping task. Not only will it improve the visual appeal of your trees, but it will also enhance their health and well-being. However, this should not encourage you to mindlessly cut the branches of your trees. There are proper pruning methods and ideal pruning time you need to be aware of before working with your trimming tools.

Trees Down Under has the perfect answer to your tree pruning needs. We have highly qualified arborists who have the skills and experience to efficiently and safely tame the trees and shrubs in your garden. More than that, our expert team also possesses the right tools to perform the most suitable pruning technique for your trees. 

Experience high-quality garden and tree services without a sweat. All you have to do is call us at 0475 463 597, and we’ll take care of all your tree needs. 

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