Changing Clothes, RMJ to Itoigawa 2020 update part 2

Last week, we looked at separating the Itoigawa roots from the graft, which forced the foliage to survive from the RMJ roots. It has been 6 months since separation and repotting, and the tree is doing ok. I have reduced the RMJ foliage on the right side, not touched the Itoigawa foliage, and have noticed a few problems.

The right Itoigawa graft is mostly healthy, except the apex, which began dying back:

And a couple long, stronger branches began to pale and weaken too:

What could be wrong? The tree is otherwise healthy, and as I thought about it, it occurred to me that the RMJ roots were unable to support the growth of the quantity of Itoigawa foliage. Maybe this is because of a natural slower pace of growth in RMJ roots, or the recent repotting diminished their capacity.

So, after cleaning up the dead portion, I started to thin out the Itoigawa foliage.

Before:

After:

A close up, showing how to prune runners and growth from the crotches of branches, and to leave alternating secondary branches with relatively balanced tufts of foliage:

Next up, the remaining RMJ foliage. Removing this should also reduce the demand on the roots. This is all that remains of the original foliage:

snip…

The left graft isn’t looking stellar, but so far it is still alive.

The original RMJ past the graft has died, and the Itoigawa foliage is pale, so it is possible I’ll lose the graft too. I can still work with the right side only, but I did want to leave options to use the left trunk in the design if I needed it. We’ll see how this plays out. For now, the graft appears to have callused well, but I am waiting until spring to separate it.

And now, the “changing of clothes” is complete.

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