Stewartia end-of-year update

This Stewartia has come along quite well in the 3 years since I dug it up. Below is a shot at near-peak fall color.

A few days later, after a couple freezes, only a few leaves remain…
…which were removed to reveal the branching structure I’d been eager to see for quite a while. It did not disappoint!
After tidying up
The apex before pruning back
After light pruning; just the long shoots and too-strong shoots.
A comparison shot from 3/2020 and 11/2021.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Thanks for reading along this year. I’ll be back in 2022 with new posts on old trees and pots. Until then, I hope you enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

Peace,

BVF

Stewartia summer pruning

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.

Before
A shot showing a branch after pruning. Note how branch transitions are not coarse, and all shoots have 2 buds, pruned to an outward-facing bud.
After pruning, the tree is still pretty dense, but well-balanced, top to bottom.
The money shot
The base and bark is beautiful!

Stewartia spring pruning

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.

Cut back:

Nice display shot.

In a few weeks, I’ll eliminate areas of congestion and put it back on the bench to finish the season.