Lodewijk Hoekstra answers your garden questions: How do I prune with policy?

Wilma has just moved and now has a large garden with two neglected roof tiles. She would like to know if these can be modeled again. Or is it better to let them grow?

The trees are planted as so-called roof trees whose branches are guided so that the tree is a natural parasol and gives depth in the garden. Not pruning these trees now results in an unnatural growth form because the tree extends from one point to become very large.


A sycamore tree, or maple tree, can grow up to 20 metres high, which is often undesirable. Pruning in shape is now possible, but not too rigorous. The tree will get a big blow. It is better to wait until the winter and then restore the foothills to their roof shape.

I have already given my roof planes a summer pruning, but with a mouth cap on. This is because a lot of dust comes off the leaves from which you start coughing.

Jacqueline from Blaricum has bought a 1930s house and would like to renovate the garden. She wants to know how to turn it into a green flowering garden that suits the house.

It is indeed important to stick to the style of the house. So no grey split or modern tight tiles, but rather baked bricks, gravel and yew or beech hedges. A lawn also fits perfectly. You can realise colour well with flowering perennials and ornamental grasses.

A tip is to invest in a good design, then you know exactly what you are going to get and what the costs are. Making your own moodboard can help with that input.


The last question comes from Trees about her orange tree. This tree was full of small fruits, but then got a louse that didn‘t seem to fight. As a result, the tree had to be pruned.

How can you prevent this?

To be honest, I am not an expert in this area. I myself have two citrus trees that haven’t blossomed at all yet or have fruits, so I went on research.

Citrus trees turn out to be very sensitive and often do not absorb enough nutrients. They are heat loving and in the Netherlands it is too cold.

In addition, they require special soil and you have to be careful not to give too much or too little water; weak trees are susceptible to pests and diseases. Good luck with that!