I need to remove two of the leaders of my Dawn Redwood tree. Which ones? I planted this in October of 2017.

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  • Why do you need to remove the leaders? (I know nothing about the dawn redwood and ask out of curiosity.) Mar 28, 2018 at 13:05
  • 2 schools of thought here. Mar 30, 2018 at 0:38
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    some say it weakens the tree, should it snow, gusty winds, etc. I believe some say the less dominant leaders will either be absorbed into the bigger trunk or just become less dominant side branches. I pruned 2 of the 3 down to a lower side branch and will let nature tell me which one is the dominant one! Mar 30, 2018 at 0:42

2 Answers 2


The two on the right look the thinnest - remove these. I know it's painful to cut off a sizeable proportion of the young growth, but it will be easier to do that now rather than at some time in the future have your beautiful tree split its trunk because of a weak fork.


hopefully you have not yet removed the entire leader as it is not strictly necessary to do so and can cause harm to young trees. First, never remove more than 25 percent if the crown of a tree at one time. The best action in this case is to lop the smaller leader about 1/3rd down, and be sure to cut it 1/4" above some lateral branches. Over time, the leader will grow up, and push the smaller leader into a more lateral position. This is preferable because you maintain a branch, which provides structural integrity, and you don't overly prune your sapling, which causes stress, which in turn invites all kinds of other problems. It's always easier to take off more the next season than prune too much that will never grow back. That being said, if you did already remove it, don't stress out about it, but avoid clipping it or pruning it further for quite some time.

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