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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - July 08, 2011

From: Denver, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning
Title: Pruning a non-native Hinoki cypress from Denver NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi! Our painters have asked that we trim the Golden Hinoki Cypress back from the house. The tree is about 20' tall, beautiful and healthy. Since it is July and therefore, HOT! I'm wondering how to trim it back from the house 8-10" without damaging it. Please reply ASAP -- painters start in 5 days -- on Tuesday! Thank you very much!

ANSWER:

Well, how many choices do you have? You can prune the tree as the painters ask or you can have paint all over your tree. What you really need is a time machine to take you back to whenever your Chamaecyparis obtusa, Golden Hinoki Cypress, was planted and not plant it so close to a structure. This plant is native to Japan and therefore not in our Native Plant Database, but this Floridata article has some information on pruning it. The plant is apparently very tolerant of pruning. You can prune in summer, but don't cut into older, brown-barked stems.

 

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