Bedding plants

Cut ball tree: Tips for the most popular ball tree types


Spherical trees look good and decorate some front gardens. In our guide we explain what needs to be considered when cutting the individual species.

Trumpet tree 'Nana' in the front garden - © schulzfoto - Spherical trees are pretty to look at and also an ornament in smaller gardens. However, most trees do not automatically grow in exact curves, but must be shaped by you. If you already own a ball tree, or would like one - for example to limit the entrance - you can find out here how you can shape the easy-care ball trees with suitable cutting measures and make them an eye-catcher.


  • 1 What is special about the ball tree?
  • 2 Why doesn't the ball tree grow taller?
  • 3 What are the most popular spherical trees?
    • 3.1 ➩ spherical robin
    • 3.2 ➩ maple
    • 3.3 ➩ spherical ash
    • 3.4 ➩ Sycamore tree
    • 3.5 ➩ Ball trumpet tree
  • 4 Cutting the ball tree - what should be considered?
    • 4.1 lichten Level out the ball tree
    • 4.2 ➩ Cut back the ball tree
  • 5 Carry out cutting measures after damage
  • 6 If the crown does not form
  • 7 Note NoGos when cutting trees

What is special about the ball tree?

Spherical trees are robust and easy to maintain. The biggest advantage of these plants is their size. Spherical trees grow slowly and reach a maximum height of just a few meters. So when you buy, inquire whether the ball tree fits your requirements. There are definitely trees that can reach almost ten meters in height. For the small front garden, species that reach stature heights between three and four meters are far more suitable.

Why doesn't the ball tree get higher?

The little trees with their round crowns are unsuccessful in the great outdoors. So there is reason to suspect that the gardener's hand is involved. Of course, trees can simply be cut back so that they do not grow taller. For the ball tree, however, the finishing is common.

In the nurseries, therefore, a slowly growing crown is placed on a straight trunk. The trunk will not continue to grow in height thereafter, it will only increase in size. The crown becomes larger, but can be kept in good shape by regular pruning.

What are the most popular spherical trees?

The most popular globular trees in German gardens include:

  • ball maple
  • ball ash
  • Kugelplatane
  • Kugelrobinie
  • Ball catalpa
We would now like to introduce the individual types to you:

➩ spherical robin

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The spherical robin conjures up Mediterranean charm in every garden with its pinnate leaves. On the outside, the robinia is strongly reminiscent of the acacia. The trees are only three to a maximum of four meters high, with the trunk alone being about 2.5 meters.

➔ Tip: Ball robin grow up particularly quickly in the first years of standing.

The trees need a sunny, sheltered place and can also stand the summer heat. The tree can be planted on all frost-free days of the year. So that the tree grows well, it is watered regularly. The trees are hardy. Ball robinia do not bloom.

The globular robin can be affected by leaf blotch disease. The fungal disease is recognizable by small leaf spots. The leaf falls. The leaves are to be disposed of and do not belong on the compost. On pests, lice and the robinia miniature moth can be dangerous to the trees.

➔ Attention: The plant is poisonous in all parts! Most of the toxins are found in the bark and seeds.

Advice for the right cut:

The ball robinia is well tolerated by cutting. In principle, no regular cut is necessary. Since the tree grows very quickly, you can also cut back radically. Older trees are given a taper cut of the crown. Cutting is preferred in late winter.

➩ maple

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The maple is particularly popular in small gardens. The plants reach a height of about five meters and are just as wide. Bloom begins in April. The golden yellow autumn color is also an ornament. The maple is preferably sunny to partially shaded. After planting, the sapling needs a lot of moisture. So that the moisture does not evaporate so quickly, it is advisable to create a pouring rim. The plants are very easy to care for and are hardly affected by pests. Powdery mildew, red pustule or Verticillium wilt can occur in diseases.

Advice for the right cut:

Cutting measures are not absolutely necessary, but are well tolerated. The maple should only be cut in winter, as the branches bleed heavily in spring. A radical cut is also possible to shape or build the crown.

➩ spherical ash

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For the small garden, the slowly growing pellet ash is the ideal addition. The tree reaches a maximum height of six meters and is up to three meters wide. With its rather small crown, the spherical ash fits well in the front yard and can be used as a boundary for the entrance or garage area. The tree likes to stand sunny and a drafty location will not harm the ball ash. The ball ash does not bloom.

The floor should be moist and deep. The spherical ash is happy about the administration of compost as slow release fertilizer. Ash extinction poses a threat to the trees. It mainly affects young trees. The disease manifests itself in the withering and falling of the leaves and also spreads to the branches and finally to the entire crown. The ash bast beetle and the bulrush leafhopper can also do great damage to the trees.

Advice for the right cut:

The spherical ash does not develop a typically round crown, but grows rather umbrella-shaped and narrow. This gives the tree an elegant appearance. Cutting measures are rather unusual. You should refrain from radical cutting. Large-scale cutting measures are better spread over several years.

➩ plane tree

The spherical plane tree reaches a maximum height of four meters and forms a particularly even round crown. This reminds the hobby gardener of a holiday in the south and the plane trees growing there. The rather inconspicuous flowers develop in May. An eye-catcher, however, are the globes that appear in autumn. The brownish yellow autumn color is also extremely attractive.
The ideal location is to look for in the sun or partial shade. The substrate should not be too moist.

Tip: The trees can be transplanted without any problems if the location has not been chosen appropriately.

Occasionally, the plane tree can be affected by fungal diseases. The affected branches change color and then decompose.

Advice for the right cut:

Spherical plane trees tolerate cutting measures very well. However, cutting is only done on older trees or sick plants. Then the pruning should take place into the healthy wood.

➩ Ball trumpet tree

With a total height of about three meters, the trumpet tree 'Nana' (see title picture above) has also found the right house tree for small gardens. You can set up a sofa in its shade and enjoy the twittering of birds, because the tree is often used as a nesting site. The spherical crown becomes increasingly wider in older trees, which in no way damages the visual appearance of the plant.

The trees are preferably sunny to partially shaded and protected. Prolonged drought is easily tolerated. You can also grow the sapling in a bucket at a young age. Sufficient moisture is required. Occasionally the ball-trumpet tree is attacked by lice. The crust fungus and the Verticillium wilt also occur.

Advice for the right cut:

Cutting measures can be carried out, but are rather unusual. If you want to prune the trumpet tree, you should use the months February to March.

Cutting a ball tree - what should be considered?

The ball tree remains rather low in growth. However, what is often underestimated by many hobby gardeners - older trees sometimes stretch considerably. Then the crowns no longer appear spherical, but more like a pancake. That is why one speaks of "pancake crowns". To keep the trees in shape, you should occasionally use scissors.

The late winter is the ideal season for pruning. First, all main branches are cut back to a length of about 20 centimeters. When cutting, be sure to close the sleeping eyes to cut. Then the plant can sprout again close to the cut surface. In order for the crown to develop as desired, a new cut should be made after about three years. Then the branches that were newly driven out at the former interfaces are cut back to their roots. In the case of particularly dense crowns, reduce the number of branches.

➩ Straighten the ball tree

When thinning out your globular tree, do not make a radical cut, you only remove old and damaged branches. The branches are removed immediately at the base. There should be no stubs left. Make a particularly clean cut. This is only possible with a sharp cutting tool.

➩ Cut back the ball tree

The pruning can be done annually in late winter. This contributes to a compact growth of the plant. However, the cutting measures are not absolutely necessary. Refined plants from nurseries grow bushy and compact anyway. Simply decide here on a case-by-case basis. The fact is that almost all spherical trees tolerate cutting measures well and sprout them reliably again.

Carry out cutting measures after damage

If the ball tree is damaged after storms or pest infestation and illness, a radical cut is recommended. Do not be afraid here and cut off all branches that are located above the processing point. Leave some particularly well-developed branches. These serve as the basis for the new formation of the crown. If pruning is carried out in late winter, the plant will sprout again reliably just a few weeks later.

If the crown does not form

If the hoped-for spherical crown does not form after the cut, you have not cut back immediately above the finishing point. Cut the branches back to the grafting point and leave no stubs. When cutting, make sure that the tool is clean and sharp. Smooth cut edges form little attack surface for fungi and pests. If you use unsharp tools, the cut edges fray and the plant becomes vulnerable to diseases and pests.

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Note NoGos when cutting trees

The pruning should preferably take place in the winter months. Then the ball tree can regenerate well before it sprouts again. However, never cut in frost. If the thermometer falls below five degrees below zero, the branches could break and the tree could be permanently damaged. If the maple or robinia are not cut until spring, this can disadvantage the growth of the plants. Since the trees sprout early, they bleed heavily when cut. With the escaping plant sap, important nutrients are lost. Always cut these trees in early autumn when the tree has less sap and less nutrient loss.

Tip: Trees that sprout early need enough time to regenerate and should therefore be cut in autumn or early winter.