This tree was wired after the leaves fell, late November 2020
By the second pruning in late spring 2021, it was time to remove wires.
And in mid-summer, it was time to get a look at what was going on under all that foliage.
During explosive growth, whorls and strong shoots can develop, which aren’t useful to the design of the tree. I left the long shoots in case one was necessary as a sacrifice branch, but most of the leaves were removed so I could prune back the growth to evenly-sized transitions and pairs of shoots at each terminal.
Exactly 3 weeks later, here is how the tree has responded. The leaves are slightly larger, and the internodes on some shoots are longer.
So the tree was lightly pruned, removing long shoots back to the first internode, and some of the larger leaves were removed.
And then it was returned to the bench to continue growing out.
Stewartia is a hearty grower, and this one has been trimmed back several times already this season. However, simply pruning around the profile seems to create some coarse whorls and shoots that will need to be removed later anyway. So this time (mid-July) I went through the tree, branch by branch, and reduced shoots to pairs of leaves throughout the tree, and removed those shoots that were too coarse to use in the design. In essence, I did a winter pruning in mid-summer.
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.