Wayside Gardens

Bottlebrush, A Winter Clean Up

Written by Matt Macedo on 12-Jan-2015

I have this beautiful 50 yr old Bottlebrush tree in my yard.  When I first started reshaping it close to 20 years ago it was a wild beastly bush.  Now, it is a stunning gnarled multi-branched tree, a showstopper from any angle.  Over the past two weekends I decided putting off pruning for another year was not an option. From the outside you really can't tell it was pruned, but from the inside it's a whole new world. Have a look.

On the left was the birds nest cluster of dead brittle branches. On the right you can see the after with all the inner branches removed.

Pruning for ten hours produced a wonderful open canopy feeling.  Pruning is not just about whacking branches. There is a fine skill involved in both helping to keep the tree healthy and slowly training the branches to your liking. In the case of the bottle brush it is a pretty slow grower and needs attention every now and then. Not only is this tree a bringer of Bees, it also represents an old beautiful architecture of shape and texture in my garden. 

A quick word about Bottlebrush trees, yes they are messy.  Dropping all those red little needle like flowers doesn't make my wife happy. . . however, its a small price to pay for all of the Bees it helps bring to the yard.  They now offer dwarf Bottlebrush shrubs which would be great for a small hedge. They do tend to get wide over time. In a past life I had several of them in a yard and they were pretty in their own way offering year round deep green foliage.