As the current but relatively recent owner of this Korean Hornbeam, big thanks to Ryan and the crew for this afternoon’s live stream. My number one priority for it this summer was to work on building ramification and the stream today could not have been more timely and spot on!
Congratulations on picking up that tree. Really lovely. Good luck with it!
Dang, where’d you find that beast???
Thanks, I love it. It came up for sale last spring at the Toronto Bonsai Society Show and Sale and I snapped it up. It is actually two trees that intertwine, the R and L trunks are individual trees. It wasn’t quite as vibrant last year, one of the trees seemed not to be as robust as the other but I gave it extra sun and it seems to have burst back into like this year on par with the other. I did an little late winter pruning to limit buds to 2-4 per twig (harder pruning on top, lighter down below). I probably should have repotted it this spring but I had shoulder surgery and this thing is a beast. Next year.
One question for the group, is there harm in pinching off growth early, i.e. before it hardens? It will have soft growth out to 6-8 leaves shortly and I was thinking I would just pinch the soft growth early rather than have the tree expend all that energy for nothing. And then partially defoliate at the same time as was done on the live stream. Thoughts?
You can stop the growth by pinching out the tip, but wait to (partially) defoliate until all of those 6-8 leaves harden off. You can shorten extensions at the same time and should get an energetic response
Thanks for the advice … I think I’m going to have to book off an entire Saturday for that job at some point
Pinching is a refinement technique. If something is out the siloutte then pinch that branch. Byproduct of that is that you also transition energy back into the interior. You don’t have to pinch the entire tree. Just the problem spots.
Partially defoliate for ramification. It took me a little over an hour to do my crape myrtle. I cut the branches back and only left three lead nodes and then did the folded leaf technique. I loved it lol. So zen.
It seems like there are differences of opinion on whether one should fertilize before (or after) partial defoliation (or at all even). Thoughts?
With hornbeam you can fertilise from spring bud break (if you do he same with Acer species you get too long internodes, but not so with hornbeam), and certainly through defoliation.
I fertilize before and after. I’m working to get ramification which comes from vigor. Not worried about small leaves and finer growth at this point. Those are refinement concerns. That’ll come later when I have developed the ramification I’m looking for.