I live in bristol uk I have a bottle brush plant that has flowered wel
in the last 2years but now looks as if it could have been frost damage
as all the tips of last years flowers have gone brown although th
leaves are still green. Should I prune the tips or what other treatmen
should i use
Is your bottle brush Callistemon or Melaleuca? Both are in the myrtle
family and are native to Australia.
The flowers on Callistemon generally last only one season, so last
year's flowers should already be history. Callistemon can be pruned
severely, especially now before summer comes. However, prune only to
above green foliage; pruning below the lowest green leaf may cause the
entire branch to die (similar to pruning lavender). Pruning is not
really necessary except for aesthetic purposes or to remove deadwood.
I'm not familiar with the care of Melaleuca. However, I know that it is
considered an invasive pest in Florida.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
As far as targets go I have this section for you on pruning. Often myrtle
is topped and people claim it was pollarded - not true.
Mulching correct also will also correct. I am willing to help you anyway I
If you would like to get more technical I recommend MODERN ARBORICULTURE,
the book. It can be obtained at your library or they can get it for free.
He was my professor in New Tree Biology Studies
John A. Keslick, Jr.
Consulting Tree Biologist
Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology.
Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us
that we are not the boss.
Some people will buy products they do not understand and not buy books that
will give them understanding.
I guess it depends on how old it is. I have cut a callistemon that was at
least 15 years old and almost 6 ft back very hard as it was leggy and ugly.
The first year I cut off about two third of each branch on one side of the
bush (back into bare wood) and when this repsonded brillaintly and bushed
up, I than cut back the back half of the bush hard the next year.
The following site at the Australian National Botanic Garden may be of
interest to you as it discusses pruning at various stages and in various
I dont know how to help you with your problem but the name bottle
brush plant is really appealing to me. I dont know if you can post
images here but sometime when you get the plant going right, could you
post a pic? Take care and happy gardening. Judy
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