Fall cleanup (and unexpected show-prep) on a twisty Itoigawa

I did some work in February, and let it mostly grow wild into October. So we start here:

The tree is one-dimensional, and has a few long branches extending on the back side, and a bald spot in the back left.

Below, my hand is covering the back left branch that needs to be shortened, and the bald spot is visible above my hand:

And the back right branch (this right side is the stronger side, and it’s pretty dense):

It does look ok from the front. However, you can’t limit the viewing angle in a show…

First, cleanup undersides and prune it back a bit. Here is that back left branch, removed:

First phase done:

Next, cleaning up the loose bark with a knife and scrubbed up with a toothbrush:

Soil surface mossed, and pot oiled with baby oil:

Finally, a coat of diluted lime sulfur on the deadwood:

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Fall cleanup and show-prep of a corkbark Japanese /Black Pine

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:

After:

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.

Summer defoliation on a Trident Maple

This root-over-Rock trident was started about 11 years ago, and the leaves will reduce down to 1/2″ with constant trimming. Defoliating is used not to reduce leaf size, but to provide some visibility into what’s happening inside the canopy. If an area is getting too coarse inside the canopy, it’s difficult to see. So, in mid-June, I removed all the leaves to get a look. The growing season is long enough that it can continue to grow.

Before:

After:

Close-up shot of the coarse branches that need to be pruned back to bifrucating pairs:

And after pruning:

A month later, the tree is full again, but notice the larger leaf size:

Now, pinching will resume for the rest of the growing season, removing the strong shoots that grow past the profile, and large leaves. This pinching is what produces small leaves and shorter internodes; here is a shot in mid-August, after constant trimming to prevent long shoots from running outside the profile.

And after the pruning while defoliated, more these new branches can be kept as part of the next course of ramification.

During the remainder of the growing season, larger leaves will be removed to allow light in. Leaving smaller leaves helps maintain the scale.