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Zelkova, continued

The recent history of this tree is in a previous post, check it out here. After the leaves were removed, the results of this year’s growing season could be evaluated. It was not repotted, and it was defoliated twice, so it vigorously grew three sets of leaves this year.

After leaf fall, and before trimming it back:


And after trimming back:


Zelkovas grow strongly, and it can be easy to miss an interior shoot gaining strength within the canopy. When leafless; after defoliation, or after leaf fall, it’s important to prune back the strong shoots, in favor of small ones. Remember, it’s all about balance, and trees will sacrifice smaller growth for stronger growth. We need to halt those tendencies to maintain balance, ramification, and foliage size.

Zelkovas also issue multiple shoots from pruning sites, or at lateral meristems, where buds are or once were. When they grow, strong shoots bolt up, and surrounding shoots lose strength. Here is a photo where this has happened:


Strong shoots area bit more reddish-brown, and thicker, with larger buds. If these buds are allowed to grow, it will be at the expense of everything else around them.


Removed (sorry for the blurry shot…camera on the fritz):





And a shot showing how multiple buds originate at one location, reduced to a pair:


The tree probably won’t be wired this winter, but will be repotted next spring, with another round of aggressive root work to help refine the developing nebari.

7 years in 2 photos…



A cutting from this tree is in the growing bed, and has shot up to about 15′ tall in the last 3 years. It will be a great candidate for a couple of air-layers…and the subject of some upcoming posts in 2013!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Judy Barto #

    That’s a lot of progress for 7 years. 🙂

    December 15, 2012
  2. ron heinen #

    Who’s the guy who gave you the tree? Does he have more? Your pics and progression are always so informative.

    December 15, 2012
    • Dunno, Don Highland or someone. Maybe he has a big old twin trunk yew he wants me to take home and work on for a few years…;-)

      December 15, 2012
  3. Chris #

    That is some very nice progress over 7 yrs Brian! Thanks for sharing!
    (Great photo of you two btw, you both look very happy 😉 )

    December 15, 2012
  4. Reblogged this on Wolf's Birding and Bonsai Blog.

    October 7, 2019

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