Pruning Frangipanis

If you are in South East Queensland and interested in getting someone to prune your frangipani(s), please read about our Frangipani Tree Pruning Service.

Old Frangipani Trees With Many Branches
Since frangipanis can grow for more than 100 years, they naturally get bigger and bigger and get more and more branches. As the number of branches become too many, they start to compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. Pruning your old frangipani will allow new branches to get more nutrients and more sunlight.

Dead Frangipani Branches
The larger branches which get sun will continue to grow strong while the smaller branches will not. The lower branches and branches in the middle often become weak and often die. This process starts with the weak branches becoming soft and producing smaller leaves. Rot can easily attack and spread when branches are soft and weak. After the rot spreads, the branches become softer and then black and squishy. Some of these dead branches will fall off and some will stay attached to the tree but the soft rotting frangipani wood will eventually turn to hard wood.

Removing Dead Frangipani Branches
The quickest and easiest way to tidy up around a frangipani tree is to pick up the dead branches off the ground from around the trunk. The next thing to do is to remove dead branches still attached to the tree. As mentioned above, dead branches include both soft rotting branches and dry hardwood.

Quick Light Frangipani Prune
If you intend to give your frangipani tree a light prune after removing any dead branches, look for the softer and weaker branches to cut off first. These will often be the shorter branches in the centre of the tree which are denied sunlight by the canopy.

Frangipani Trees Prefer To Be
Cropped or Heavily Pruned
More Than Lightly Pruned
In Australia, animals like Kangaroos eat the tips of branches. Many Australian plants have evolved so that they respond well to frequent pruning. Frangipanis, on the other hand, do not. Frangipanis prefer to keep their branch tips.

Cropping A Frangipani Tree
If your frangipani has gotten way too big and you’re considering getting rid of it all together, consider cropping it and letting it start again as a baby tree. If you cut off the top of a frangipani tree by cutting 1 to 2 metres up the trunk(s), the stump will produce new shoots which will turn into branches an you will get a new, smaller canopy with eye-level flowers and foliage.

Reducing the Number of Branches on a Frangipani Tree (Thinning)
As the number of branches increase, there is less nutrients for each branch and less space for sunlight. Reducing the number of branches allows each branch more nutrients and more sunlight which produces stronger healthier branches.

Reducing The Size Of A Frangipani Tree To Better Enjoy The Flowers
Another common reason to reduce the size of a frangipani tree is to better enjoy the frangipani flowers. Many frangipani trees in residential are positioned between structures and weren’t able to grow into a mushroom shape. For example, it’s common to see a frangipani tree between a side fence and house with all its flowers and leaves above the second storey roof. This happens because the residents need to cut off branches as they grow towards the house or fence to avoid damage. These large frangipanis can be reduced to a height of 3m, 2m or even to a 1m stump allowing new branches to produce flowers and leaves lower and closer to eye level or, depending on the situation, closer to a bedroom window or a balcony.

Where to Cut Off Frangipani Branches
If you need to cut off a single branch or small number of branches, you can easily do it with a chainsaw, handsaw or loppers. If possible, make the cut vertical so the branch does not hold water in the centre causing the heartwood to rot.

If you don’t want new shoots to grow from the branch, make the cut close to the fork (about 1cm).

If you are doing a big prune or cropping your frangipani tree, you’ll want most branches to produce new shoots. It’s best to cut off just under the forks leaving stumps.. Leaving a long branch will maximize the chances of new shoots growing.