For a distinctive look in the landscape, some nurseries offer shrubs pruned to grown as trees. Dwarf Alberta spruce, Diablo Ninebark, PeeGee hydrangea and Japanese variegated willow are a few of the shrubs-turned-trees I’ve seen recently.
You can buy them this way – likely for twice as much as the unpruned shrub cost. Or you can do the pruning yourself.
Pruning is a gut-wrenching experience for some, especially when only one stem is to survive. Yet, that’s the essence of turning a multi-stemmed shrub into a single-stem tree. So, be brave.