I wired several branches of this Stewartia over the winter, but really wanted to allow the tree to develop a rather natural branch structure, as Stewartia do well in pots. Here is a shot before leafing out:
Stewartia is a strong grower, and requires regular cut back. When wires were just starting to tighten, they were removed. The thin bark can scar, and I don’t want to have any scars on the branches. Below is a shot just after first pruning and wires removed in May.
After wires were removed, the tree took off growing strong again. It’s in a shady spot and dries out quickly, but also grows well. Here is a photo from a few weeks later.
Nice display shot.
In a few weeks, I’ll eliminate areas of congestion and put it back on the bench to finish the season.
Things are slowing down a bit now, except for the tridents and black pines. It’s a bit too early to candle-cut the pines (I do this 100 days before our average first frost).
This trident was wired over the winter, secondary branches mostly, and allowed to grow in March. I want good movement, good taper, and no bulges at the cuts. Here is a shot before leafing out this spring.
First round of pruning in April.
Second round in May, as wires were biting in, they were located with the help of a leafless photo, and removed. I also went branch by branch, eliminating strong shoots, clusters, and those growing from the bottom sides of branches. This will help keep those secondary to tertiary branch transitions smoother.
Third cut back in June was another rounding out, which really just slows down the strong shoots and gives weaker ones a chance.
In July, I’ll go back and prune hard again, reducing shoots down to evenly-sized pairs, wire out some new growth, and let it grow again.
This arakawa has already had one haircut this spring, and has continued to grow denser. In order to keep the internodes short, I am continuing to cut back any extension growth back to the first (or second) node.
Additionally, I removed one of each pair of leaves in the crown, and outer, stronger shoots.
Finally, I weakened the entrance side of the thread graft that was applied in March this year.
It is nearly ready to separate, but I’d like to see the cambium fuse just a bit more at the exit side:
The apex area, while thinned out, looks a bit high above the rest of the foliage. I am slowly allowing the tree to grow taller and wider, so it may look a bit disassociated for now, but I am trying to keep it from getting too congested.
Additionally, the graft will be shortened when it is separated. Stay tuned for more updates!