Itoigawa cleanup

Well, I’d been putting off this chore far too long.  After repotting it into a slightly undersized container, I wanted it to regain some strength before unwiring and pruning it back, but it was a balancing act between pushing it too far and just right.  June 11 was the day, carefully unwired the buried wires, and pruned it back.


Wires digging in are carefully removed with wire cutters and thumbnails to minimize the bark pulling away from the wood:

And finally, after this much is removed:

It should be set for the rest of the growing season, and ready to be wired in the winter:


The cycle continues: Hawthorn part 2

In February 2016, the buds were swelling and it was time to try a graft to add a branch in a space that really needed to fill in.


Hawthorns have thin bark and callus rather slowly, so I don’t know how it’s going to take. However, the area will have plenty of access to sunshine and branches can grow fast in the spring, so we’ll see. A thread-graft was the safest choice, and I’d identified a candidate.

Drilled a hole; going in through the out door:

Fish the scion through carefully, trying to preserve some buds on the way through:

A twig from the same tree used as a wedge, and a little wire to hold things in place:


And a good seal of cut putty is placed around both ends of the graft:


Next up, some spring pruning. I went pretty aggressive in the winter of 2014, and I noticed that while the tree didn’t back-bud too strongly, it did grow well; meaning the bare areas didn’t fill in. I need to keep riding back on the heavier branches, but I also need to take it a bit more slowly. A little at a time:





After some pruning and wiring just a few branches, it is ready to grow for the year:


And grow, it did. Late March:

By mid-April, I pruned back the areas that were already thick enough; the top, upper right side, lower left. I didn’t touch any shoots that were wired, or grafted.

Mid May, I did a bit more pruning, and moved back high branch down and to the right.


The grafted shoot, and guy-wired upper left branch were not touched. It’s growing nicely, and I should be able to prune it back fairly soon:


The density is improving nicely. By late June, the upper left area was thickening, and I was ready to slow its roll…

In a span of 2 years, I was able to replace the first left branch with a smaller branch, with more movement and taper.

Branch 2 was a back branch, and it will fill in over time. With that, the apex won’t look quite so isolated up top.

Branch 3 was more problematic. I didn’t have a replacement to develop, and didn’t get one, so I had to graft one.