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Posts from the ‘Deciduous’ Category

Chinese Quince, 2 years of work

I like the look of Chinese Quince when they’re grown thoughtfully, with lots of movement and taper.  The longer I train them, the more I appreciate the work that is required to make something that likes to grow long, straight, and taperless into something that looks like this:

To get a quince to look that refined requires constant trimming and wiring.  Beginning in spring 2017, I started with pruning branches short, wiring several branches down:


And letting it grow for a few weeks…


Then pruning it back, and wiring the green shoots down in May:

And again in July:



In late September, the wire was biting in, and removed:



A light trimming back, and it can coast for the rest of the year.  It will be pruned again after leaf fall.

Fall color…November 2017.

Here is a leafless shot from December ’17

Light pruning, and wiring a few rogue branches in place:

2018…

By late March 2018 it was leafed out again:

And in mid-April, young shoots were wired to add some wiggle, and the crown was lightly pruned back. Before:

After:

Once the wire starts to hit in and the shoots lignify, the wires will be removed, the branches will be pruned back to one or two leaves, and allowed to grow again. Meanwhile, the shedding bark adds some interest for sure.

Aafter a few weeks of growth, it developed rust, and I ended up having to heavily prune it and unwire it. A bit disappointing, but hard-pruning is really what develops character.

After:

So, in mid-July 2018, it had grown enough to wire again:

Below is early August 2018, and if you’re not keeping track at home, this represents the fourth pruning this season, and I suspect it will produce another flush. It will be good to see this one leafless again.

Before:

After:

Mid-August, and the wires were digging in, so the tree was unwired and lightly pruned again. Before:

After:

If you’re counting, that’s 5 times the tree was pruned back and wired this year.

Fall color was good too:

And when it was leafless, here is the result of the year’s efforts:

Still some rough areas, and I think eventually these secondaries will probably need to be shortened again. For now, just the straight and heavy areas are pruned.

Then every branch is wired.

So here is the side-by-side after 2 years of building branches. Can’t wait to see what the next 2 years brings!

Next spring, a repot and some work on the nebari.

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The Cycle Continues: Japanese Maple 2018

A one-year update on this thread.

This maple is getting close to “show-ready” again. It went to the 2012 US National Bonsai Exhibition, and since that time, I have been working to improve the base, correct some structural flaws, and heal a couple pruning scars left by correcting said structural flaws. Here is a shot in late November just before leaf-fall.

And here it is leafless a few days later:

Several branches are thickening and need to be replaced with finer shoots. Where would you prune the branch below:

Below is the after shot. The goal is to prune back to a bifurcated pair of about the same size.

One area of very slow progress has been this thread graft which has languished for both of the last two growing seasons it has been knitting. This may be due to the fact that the scion split at the entrance hole and was attached by no more than a toothpick’s width. Fortunately it managed to live, but unfortunately it has been very slow.

In the photo below, notice how the scion was positioned with a bud very close to the exit hole? That was quite deliberate and may provide something to prune back to in the future.

It’s about 18″ long now, and firmly enough attached that I decided to wire some movement into it. Maybe by next year, it will be ready to separate. Part of the wiring was to angle the tip up toward the light and encourage it to gain strength.

After the first round of pruning, some wire was added to move a few wayward branches into position.

I stopped here and brushed it with Lime Sulfur to lighten and even out the tones:

Often when I get to this point, I find it helpful to take a photo of the tree and work on the areas that jump out as needing attention. What do you see in the shot below:

Here are the areas that jumped out to me:

And here is the shot after those areas were addressed:

A few steps closer to a showable tree.

Here is a 10-year old throwback shot to 2008:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. Thanks for reading along this year. More to come in 2019!

Zelkova Air-Layer continues

In early July, this tree’s primary branches were wired. Interestingly, since they were wired up and out, so each had a place in the sunshine, the tree responded with rapid growth. In about 3 weeks, it became necessary to remove the wires.

Branch selection:

Wired on 7/14:

3 weeks later:

Wires removed, and the primary branches were shortened…significantly:

We should have enough growing season remaining to make 2 more rounds of growing and clipping…