Hello, I have this young american beech collected in spring 2019. It was heavily fed last year and produced this spring long shoots with massive leaves (>6 inches). The interior and lower buds are now shaded.
Is it a good idea to partially defoliate to stimulate interior ramification even at this early stage? I am not focused on trunk thickening but rather setting enough ramification to build taper in the long run.
Have you thought of heavily pruning the top and leaving the lowest branches to grow out?
@Gary.Jones Yes the plan is to chop the tree to existing buds at about half the height. Those buds all opened this spring. I will try to take a picture.
Perhaps I should cut the trunk now that the first flush is hardened. I could then let it grow as you say and let it heal itself this year, only cutting this year’s growth to two buds in winter or early next spring.
Here is a close-up of the three buds that extended at mid-trunk height where I will cut to rebuild the apex. Overall tree size will be 2.5 feet for a tree that may reduce its leave size only to a certain degree since Fagus grandifolia, as the name implies, naturally have large leaves. I want to grow this one for the winter and spring silhouette.