How to Prune Cryptomeria

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Things You'll Need

  • Clean, sharp loppers

  • Hand saw or chainsaw for large mature trees

  • Garden gloves

  • Ladder (if needed0

A branch of Cryptomeria

Cryptomeria, commonly known as Japanese cedar, is a fast-growing tall evergreen tree with greenish-blue foliage and dramatically contrasting red-brown peeling bark. In optimal growing conditions and at maturity, cryptomeria can reach 60 feet in height. Cryptomerias are commonly used as decorative trees, green privacy screens, hedging and windbreaks. With their elegant symmetrical appearance, they are often used to line streets and alleys and used to create bonsai trees. Cryptomeria is unique in that its branches and trunk, when severely cut back, will re-row a sprout from the cut. They need not be pruned except to control the shape and size but are very resilient to pruning so do not be afraid to prune as you desire.


Step 1

Don your gloves and inspect your cryptomeria carefully, using your loppers or hand saw to cut away any damaged or diseased branches. Pull the cut branches from out of the canopy and discard in the trash, bypassing the compost pile so as not to spread any disease.

Step 2

Use your chainsaw, hand saw or loppers to cut away any crossing or unbalanced branches in the interior of the tree. Thin the branches to allow light penetration and good air flow while still maintaining the trees shape.

Step 3

Work spherically around the perimeter of the cryptomeria, cutting away branches and limbs to shape and maintain a balance in the tree's appearance. With each cut, pull the cut branches from the canopy and set aside for the compost pile or dust bin.


Step 4

Restart cryptomeria growth entirely by using your chainsaw to cut the trunk 1 foot to 3 feet above the soil and allow the cryptomeria to throw new shoots from the cut stump and eventually grow a new tree, which you can train and shape to your desire.



D.C. Winston

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.