P. mume progression from cutting>fieldgrown>airlayer

in 2003 I started with an Ume cutting and to this day I am still having challanges keeping it from elogetating and holding shape.(and other ume).

However since I started planting the cutting in the garden in I have been taking photos of each step and thought I would post the stages, I am still looking for the original cutting photos which must be in an old phone somewhere. I will add these as soon as I find them.

But in 2005 I planted the cutting outside in Berlin before going to work in Hong Kong till 2013 . The rooted cutting was planted over a Floor tile to keep the roots from growing deep.

Ever year when comming home in the fall I would prune as needed.

Here is what it looked like when I dug it out of the field in March 2013:

Not sure what soild mix I was using back then…looks dark…

In the spring of 2014 I I had two potential future fronts I could use. In both cases I would need to take off the top of the tree. As Ume are Hard to find in Europe I decided to Air Layer the top of . at this point I was more interested in the Mother plant.

Here is a photo of the junction May 2013

At the same time in May I made the cut in the Cambium and packed the area in Sphagnum Moss with some root Hormone

Here is the front and back next spring in March 2014. There was no root growth at this time but a good size Callous had grown. I scored the Callous and used root Hormone:

Later in July 2014 I had good foliage growth and roots hat developer to it was time to cut off the apex:

Here are the Roots:

Below is the mother plant…actually at the time I was more interested in developing this section. (to this day the mother plant is the Ugly Mother inlaw…but I am airlayering her again an if it works out will post this in the fall)

And here is the Air layered Apex:

let the tree grow without any major work. in spring of 2016 I did not cut it back until July and had heavy healthy growth. Here it is in July before and after reduction of that years growth:

in April 2017 the tree had developed new shoots and was in good health. Here is the front and back:

in March of 2018 I did the first styling. the redline show where I needed to cut back to two buds. my options were limited. (the cup on the side was a failed attempt to air layer a branch off the bottom. al thoulh there was lots of folige on the branch it did not have any leaf buds and died off)

The redlines are where I decided to cut: again the tendency of Ume to bud on the ends of the tips or not at all on some brances limited my options:

After reduction:

Here is the tree in March 2019 first time in a pot:
I cut off the brach to the growind to left of the apex shortly after this shot. The Apex has given me troble to this day in 2021. I can’t seem to keep to buds on it year ater year it just gets longer

Here we are in 2020 please note the apex challange continuing


Here wer are again in 2021 still in the Roman Husman pot (may change to this year to more suitable form):
i did not cut the apex that died off last year yet, but again of the two buds that made the apex last year only one had buds and there only at the tip. its going to elongate again and not ramify.

A number of the branches did not get flower or leaf buds so I am going to loose them. some have flowere but no leafe buds as well. I had 3 flushes last year with the last cut in July. you can see were I cut back and it did not ramify! I have treid multipule techniques and in 2021 Rayans sugested method all with same results.

Here are the close ups. red is branches I will loose. all others branche with flowere only have buds at tips if at all. Looks like I will loose the form:

Am very concerned with loosing form, although I like the ramification now i am going to loose some and get more “leggy” at the same time…Very frustrating!


It’s coming along nicely. One suggestion, I would let it grow each spring and prune only in the summer for the next few years which will strengthen it considerably and build up ramification. Autumn pruning lets in more bacteria (cankers etc) and it clearly doesn’t like to be pruned in spring.

taking from your pictures you are very versed with Ume and your result is very nice imo.
Most likely you are aware, but in another post here in the forum there was a scan of an (i believe German) article on developing Ume. Seemed to be quite valuable information in there.

Not sure what you mean??
It is wrong to prune ume in fall and I never have. Did I make a mistake in the post? If one prunes in fall one could cut off leaf buds and that is not good.

As for pruning on spring you have to prune back to two buds. If not the buds left after the first two will drain the energy and the inner ones will die off.

Did I misunderstand you or did you mean something else?


Thanks for the complement, I hope I can maintain the form. I have a lot of interior branches within buds I will loose.

As to the German Artikel I know it as I posted it. The trick of braking the branch works great. I have not tried the removal of the immer leave on this tree as I am afraid of not getting the leaf buds. If I do not the tree is well out of form.

May be I should try it though?

Think this year may try against Ryan’s advice and go with old school full defoliation in June.

I like how you can see the bark develop over time. Thanks for the pics!

@dday830 I didn’t mean to imply that you regularly pruned in autumn, I’m sorry if that’s how it came across. i have seen others prune in autumn with disastrous results. I actually meant to say that I would prevent it flowering so avoiding it taking energy then prune in summer (June) only, for the next few years. Sorry for any confusion.

Kevin, I thought removing flower buds would give more strength too but according to Ryan this is not relevant to P.mume