What to remove on this larch

Long story short… I suspect I need to decrease the foyer mass to help my tree thrive better. I have a poor imagination and can’t “see” a different design.

Please draw some cut lines to drastically reduce this tree so it’s resources aren’t spread so thin.

Here’s what I would be thinking about removing and then making decisions from there…most of the suggestions where the obvious bar branches


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Some additional views

Bar branches, meaning directly opposing? Instead of alternating?

I saw that before, but was reluctant as it would change the outline shape. I feel you’re right though. Thanks for the nudge to do it.

Yes ones that are directly opposing, it will cause swelling at the junction over time eventually leading to inverse taper. Better to build the structure first then worry about the silhouette. It’s a more sustainable design approach

Well no going back now!


Here’s a rough place I would take it based on the last picture

I don’t know if this is or isn’t the best front.

I would consider an angle change next time I could repot it. I would jin part or all of the the top left competing apex formation. If I left foliage on it I would turn it towards the back. Where the arrow is. I would also join back the right what I would perceive as the apex white and green marker. I remove the other 4 or 5 branches with an eraser to give you sense of how much more you can reduce. I would probably compress the length on a few other spots and turn a few into reiterations but I figured this gives you some sense.

Solid looking tree tons of potential. Good luck keep us posted where you end up taking it

Oh wow, you think the banches should be quite a bit shorter too!

Seems that my trees are several weeks behind in growth from what the Mirai app says. I may have repotted too early. This larch started budding about three weeks ago and was growing slow, but looking good. Then we tested it’s “drought resistance” during a 6 day vacation. I set up an automatic watering system, but right before we left my wife got paranoid and turned off the water main.

All the buds turned partially or fully brown. It’s starting to green up again, very slowly. How do i determine the balance point with too much nutrient competing foliage and not enough foliage to produce energy?

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One trick to “help” your imagination is to take white paper roll and wrap it around branches you want to remove. This with help you see what the tree will look like before removing. But yeah defintely start with removing things that definitely you won’t want to keep, bar branches, downward and upward growing branches. I think Ryan often mentions that one of the things he saw at Mr Kimura was his ability to clean tree’s. An often-overlooked aspect of our work


You should do what your comfortable with, I am no expert. If this tree struggled to push out originally I wouldn’t remove anything else until it regains strength and is back in an energy positive state. We know that branch removal at leaf drop will reduce it’s winter hardiness as well so keep that in mind.

If you’re able to its worth putting it in a Q+A for design advice from an expert.

I have been right where you are so many times. I think I have a good tree but it’s not yet a great tree(my tree)

I have been working with Peter Tea. Here is a link to a talk he gave about bonsai development. It may be a bit drastic. My best suggestion is to listen to the entire talk a few times. Then ask yourself what you want to do over how many years. Once you let branches develop without proximal division you can’t get proximal division without cutting the branch,

I trust Peter’s advice and with that came some really severe haircuts. Painful at first but it follows the basic bonsai development principles he learned in Japan,

I would only take advice from someone who has trees better than your own.

Good luck,

I wish that was my larch.

How do you do the Q&A? Is that another thread or something?

Thanks I’ll give those a watch!

Hate to admit it, but the tree is not looking real great. Even the little green needles flake off easily and feel dry. Branches still bend soft, but probably dead already. :unamused:

Guess I’ll start looking for local yamadori next.