Winter Wiring of an Ume, Prunus mume

It has been around 5 years since I wired this tree out completely. The branches get long and leggy, and they don’t back us well. To top it off, the branches are crazy brittle and the already-precious buds are very easy to knock off. Imagine wiring a pretzel stick and trying to get it to bend not break, and also not knock off any of the salt crystals…which are about as well-attached to a pretzel stick as the buds are to the branch.

My goal was to simply move the branches into a more horizontal position, and to thin out a couple areas on the right side, where the tree had grown pretty strong. To accomplish this, I used oversized aluminum wire, wired every branch first, then began to place the branches, by moving the wires, not the wood. Several still snapped, but on balance, I was able to move the branches into a more horizontal plane without knocking off too many buds along the way. When spring hits, I’ll know the extent of the damage…

The additional challenge with Ume is that the viable buds are out toward the tips, so they can’t simply be cut back to length, because if a viable bud isn’t present, that branch will likely die. This means I need to work with as much of the tree as possible.

Before:

Wired:

Branches moved into position:

The apex definitely needs work, but at least the branches are tamed.

Here are a couple more parting shots. Thanks for reading.

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