I bought a house that came with Globe Catalpa trees. The prior owner insisted I should cut of all the branches every year after it had gone dormant. That seemed like an absurd and stressing thing to do to a tree, but I followed their advice and it did grow healthy and the same size as the year before.

Is this really a recommended pruning plan for this type of tree? Is it sane to cut all the branches off of a small tree?

Is there a way I could prune it instead that would be healthier for the tree and encourage upward growth? For example pruning only the lower branches?

I would love to allow the tree to grow as large as it wants, and grow out a larger canopy. But to do that I need the bottom of the canopy to be 2-4 feet higher. Right now if I were to not prune it at all within 1-2 years it will fully obstruct a walking path for anyone over 4 feet tall.

  • Are you sure it is a Globe Catalpa (Catalpa bungei)? Often, Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) or Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) are erroneously called by that common name. This is important because C. bungei is a much smaller tree than the other two, which will affect how you prune it. – Jurp Nov 1 '20 at 17:14
  • Looking at pictures of all 3 species on Google it most closely resembles a Catalpa bungei. They are very small trees. When fully pruned (all branches removed), the top of the trunk is about 6 feet off the ground. – anthonyryan1 Nov 4 '20 at 20:41

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