How to grow and shape a pom pom tree

Written by katie jensen
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How to grow and shape a pom pom tree
Pom pom trees are a type of topiary. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A pom tree is a topiary, a tree or plant that is pruned into different shapes. Pom pom refers to a rounded spherical shape similar to a cheerleader's pom or to the cut of a French poodle. There may be one or several spheres; the shapes are on a straight trunk. The standard is a pom that has one sphere. The tree or bush may also be shaped into round pom poms at the end of each branch. While roses are common flowering standards, junipers and other evergreens are good choices for nonflowering pom poms.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Juniper
  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Half circle of lightweight plywood
  • Pruners
  • Sharpener

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  1. 1

    Select a juniper that has straight trunk, is bushy and is about 6 feet tall. Plant it in a pot that is located in full sun. Move the pot to its final position before filling it with potting soil and planting the juniper. Water well.

  2. 2

    Sharpen the pruners so they cut cleanly through the branches rather than chewing them. Wipe them off between cuts if they get sticky with sap.

  3. 3

    Remove lateral branches from the lower 3 feet of the trunk by clipping them as close to the boot as possible. You now have an odd-looking juniper that is most probably pointed at the top with three feet of naked trunk at the bottom.

  4. 4

    Clip 8 inches off the top of the bush.

  5. 5

    Place the half circle plywood guide against the north side of the trunk of the tree and follow its shape as you prune the first quarter of the tree. Cut off any branches or needles that are outside the shape of the circle.

  6. 6

    Move the half circle to the east side of the trunk and remove branches that are outside the half circle guide. Move the half circle to the south side and then the north side, clipping as you go. In most cases, this will result in a rough circle. The tree needs to fill in the gaps in the circle, and it will over time.

  7. 7

    Every three months, trim new growth so it stays inside the circular shape. Fertilise the tree during the growing season with a slow-release fertiliser per package directions. Keep watered. Test the soil by digging with a shovel. If the potting soil is dry to a depth of six inches, it's time to water.

Tips and warnings

  • If the pot receives shade for any part of the day, the tree will grow more vigorously on the side that receives the most sun. Give the pot a quarter turn the first of every month so it grows evenly.
  • Clip slowly and a little at a time. If you make a mistake by taking off too much, it will take a while to grow back.

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