How to Trim Australian Tea Trees

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More sunlight brings on more Australian tea tree flowers.
More sunlight brings on more Australian tea tree flowers. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The Australian tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) is an upright shrub or small tree, growing to a height and spread of 10 feet. With lovely red, cup-shape flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer, it adds color to a semi-shady or sunny garden corner. The tree, although native to Australia and New Zealand, is naturalized in Hawaii and thrives in Southern California. The Australian tea tree is a member of the myrtle family and doesn't tolerate heavy pruning, so start trimming it annually while it's young to keep it to the size and shape you desire. Trim the Australian tea tree when it finishes flowering.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers

Cut out dead wood. Take these stems and branches back to a main branch.

Remove any wood that has the potential to damage fences or other landscape features over which it is growing. Cut these back to a main branch as well.

Prune out any stubby, twiggy growth – stems that are short or thinner than most of the others.

Shape the Australian tea tree to the shape you desire, ensuring you never cut more than one-third of its size.

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