European Beech Pruning Ideas

Hello Bonsai lovers!
This is my Beech collected in spring 2017. It had really vigorous growth last season.
Now it’s pruning time, but for me as a beginner is hard to start.
I want to carry out a formal upright design.
Any idea and guidance is very welcomed.


Beautiful piece! This is my favorite tree and having one Copper Beech from great nursery/bonsai centre myself however much younger and still waiting till it grows more branches. Sadly it’s one of those veeeeeery slowly growing one hahhaaha Yours is trully nicely developed!
Will keep an eye on this post as Im beginner myself :slight_smile: hope I will learn something too!

Glad you like it!
This one was growing on the side of a forest road, the estimated age is around 5-8 years, maybe more since it was in a sandy/rocky soil. The tree as you see it is in the state I collected it. Surprisingly over the last season the tree developed a bunch of back buds which I’m very happy about, I think this happened because before collection it was in shady place and after collection I placed in a sunny spot, I didn’t applied any fertilization in 2017.
I’ll keep you updated.

Please do keep me updated! :slight_smile:
Can I actually ask you what soil did you put it after collection? I repotted mine last year into pretty good bonsai mix recommended by a bonsai specialist here in UK. Seeing the Mirai streem ‘soils’ made me think to use only Akadama. Well obviously will have to wait a year or two now…

Unfortunately here in Romania is hard to find Akadama also for me as a beginner is very very expensive.
So I’ve used the following mix 75% Liadrain (is a fried clay at 1200 Celsius, see the picture) and 25% peat.
I know is not the best option but for me until now it worked well.
I have friends who use 100% Liadrain and it’s working well but they have a more flexible work schedule so they do not worry about watering.
Probably in the UK Akadama is more present and more affordable.
Hopefully in the near future as the bonsai community will grow in Romania as well, Akadama will easier and cheaper to acquire.

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Well it does great job obviously and that’s the aim :slight_smile: I’m in UK and sun is precious thing here and in spite of last year being pretty sunny the growth wasn’t anything impressive that’s why I asked. Seems like the soil mix does mirracles in your case so keep doing what you are doing :slight_smile:

Is pumice available? Would probably be better than peat to develop roots and avoid root rot.:thinking:

You’re probably right but the situation with pumice is the same as with Acadama. What I could find in terms of Pumice has a granulation of 12-20 mm…and I have no possibilities to grind it.

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Looks happy! And with the soil situation, I guess that is the best you can do, maybe also something as universal as Perlite could work?

I would like to hear Mirai’s thoughts as to specific nuances to approaching refined beech vs. in development. I read an article from Harry Harington many years ago (on his website) and he says you removed the inner leaves and leave an active or couple leaves at the end of the branches and that he has had great success with ramification this way. I understand this as a partial defoliation.
Does anyone have specific methods here that have worked for them?

I had a bad experience with defoliation on beech. Two of my beeches died due to bad timing of defoliation, it did not had the time to produce the second set of leaves and froze during he winter.



These two are dead now. After several years when they were doing great without defoliation.

So I’ll stay away from defoliation until I build up more experience.

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What a shame… They both look on pictures as great material for bomsai!
These trees might be a bit sensitive when it comes to their leaves just thinking how they react to prunning - they keep their leaves whole dormant seson afterwards. I won’t touch mine to defoliate then. Thanks for sharing even such sad experience

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Put it between two boards and hit it with a rock or hammer. Just enough to fracture, not enough to turn into powder!! Then sift it with 1/4 inch ( 6 or 7 mm) screen and do it again to the pieces that are too large. Get rid of the dust or use it to grow moss. Where there is a will, there is a way. Also where there is a will there is probably a lawyer. :grin:

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The tree in full leaf.

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nice tree!
what are next steps? as always first find the best base, next best line and than best distribution of branches (beech tend to grow very 2D). As explained in the beech forest follow-up stream, start ramification. look to some beech in the nature they have a broad canopy with serveral thick branches sometimes loocking like subtrunks if grow as a single tree. more delicate and feminin when grow in large forests.
best Balatus

It looks very healthy and happy :slight_smile: I’m hoping to have mine as strong one day. I mean it’s healthy and happy too but very very ‘baby copper beech’ in compare to yours :relaxed:

Once I saw beautiful one in a blog where bonsai artist was saying he never did anything to that beech (Japanese one in his case) but pruning and oh my oh my it looked just so amazingly ramified with gorgeous bark! So here is a tip in case you are deciding what to do with yours :wink:

This year I’ll let him grow and accumulate as much energy as possible, next spring will be pruned and the primary structure set and let it recover and hopefully in the spring of 2020 will be re-potted in a proper ceramic pot.