Ume chop

Ume grow strongly, but tend to have the most viable buds out toward the tips of branches. That tends to make trunk-chopping nerve-wracking. Coupled with the relatively limited information about timing and severity of chopping, and it’s a dicey proposition.

Here is an Ume seedling I bought from Brent back in 2009ish as a pencil-thick trunk. It’s been in the ground for 7 years, but not in a prime spot, so it’s been slowish. I dug it in 2015 and moved it to an Anderson flat for the big move. Without a dedicated spot to ground-grow trees, I just set them on the ground and roots have escaped.
2013:

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2014, I did make a hard chop, but left a few branches as a safety net:

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Dug in 2015:

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Anyway, I wanted to tidy up Ume had grown to about 6′ and I really wanted a bud somewhere low on the next section. Playing it safe again, I left some low branches, but trimmed each back to a leaf or two, and chopped the trunk down to about 10″
Here is a bad shot of the sacrifice leader:

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And the chopped tree. I left the sacrifice branch long, hoping a viable bud would pop. Chop was on 5/22:

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Less than 2 weeks later, the tree responded better than expected:

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3 buds to choose from! Of course, I want the lowest on, both to compact the trunk, and to add more movement. Difficult to see, but I did reduce the trunk to the lowest of the three buds, this photo taken 2 months after the initial chop in May:

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Which helped encourage even more growth down low. I’ll take it! A few more years and it may be ready for some branch development.

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