I have shared this tree on several occasions, and managed to do fall cleanup work around this time last year as well. Here is a link to that post. I’m not convinced the tree has changed any this year, except it has stayed healthy and green. Little victory!
First, cleaning off the moss without destroying the flakey cork bark. The Hachi-gen cultivar develops flakey bark, or tortoise-shell bark, rather than the wings and valleys in many of the nishiki cultivars. If you want to read about it, check out Evergreen Gardenworks’ website. Mine came from there, and is cutting-grown, so I’m ok with the appearance.
First up, remove the moss with tweezers, before:
Pull old needles, and balance out the tree. Since I learned that I’d be showing this tree in Asheville next week, I left it a bit fuller. I had no plans to show it, but it should show ok.
Notice college football on TV? Bama beat Ole Miss pretty easily after the work was done. Light pruning:
A little light wiring to coax some branches into place, moss the soil, and oil the pot…
Good enough for this time. If I wasn’t showing it, and wasn’t in a huge time-crunch, I’d probably prune it harder, thin it out even more, and do a full wire job. Maybe this winter.
This little air-layer was repotted this year, so I let it grow all year. It grew a bit leggy, because I think it didn’t get enough water! So here it is in late September before any work:
First, unwire and remove old needles:
Next, scrub the trunk to clean it up and remove old bark, then and remove the top layer of old soil:
Close-up, the air-layered base is nice, not always a feature of Shimpakus:
Trim back to bifurcation get shoots. This was challenging on the weaker growth from this growing season:
See some crotch growth and weaker shoots in the mix:
In fact, lots of growth was removed, but the tree still has plenty to work with.
Wired and branches set:
the pads are a little large, and the apex needs to settle in, but not bad for a 5-year old air-layer.
The pot? Shinobu.
This one just keeps ambling along year after year. Not changing a whole lot. Last fall, a large portion of the primary branch was broken off, and it’s going to take a few years to rebuild the primary branch. The tree is mostly wired, and I do not perform summer candle-pruning. Instead, I remove the too-strong shoots in the fall, and remove old needles, and downward-hanging needles. I don’t ask much from the tree, and it responds in kind…
Here is a shot from when I received it in fall 2008. 11 years ago: