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We have a coppiced Manna gum tree which is flourishing. It has three or so trunks. I'd really like to know if it's possible to turn this back into a single trunk tree.

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Yes, it is possible to restore a coppiced tree to a single trunk, thanks to the phenomena known as 'apical dominance' and 'gravitropism'.

Simply remove or at least shorten the competing leaders.

The highest branch tip will wind up being the top of the tree and the line to it, the trunk.

You may, however, need to exercise some persuasion in the form of again pruning the competition later this season and next. But, if you have no interest in manipulating the competing leaders into being branches, just remove them and the process will happen more quickly.

An aside, that I cannot help but mention, is that a common practice in developing bonsai is to 'chop the trunk' (i.e.,coppice it) and 'wire a branch up' to be the new leader. So if you find this project kinda fun, you may want to take up the hobby of bonsai!

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  • Brilliant Jim. Thanks so much. Here in Australia I've never seen a reversal of coppicing.ill give it a go. Here the Manna gum when in flower is irresistible to Cockatoos and Long Beaked Corellas. It has a kind of nectar and honey scent that is beautiful. These birds snip off the flowers and a few leaves to get to the nectar. So I want my coppiced tree to grow tall for these birds.. Many thanks.
    – Shay
    May 27, 2016 at 7:53
  • I didn't know that - that must be quite a sight! There are no birds like them here, but bald eagles occasionally hang out on the tops of the 100 foot tall Douglas firs across the street. Magnificent, but not the same.
    – user13580
    May 27, 2016 at 15:14
  • Bald eagles atop the Firs must be quite a sight too. You always see good stuff like that when you don't have your camera on you:) Yesterday I saw a couple of magpies chase off a Wedge Tail eagle. The magpies always chase off in pairs. One on each side of the eagle's head. If it was just one magpie the eagle could turn its claws sideways and grab it. So two of them distract the eagle.
    – Shay
    May 28, 2016 at 23:30

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