Part II: Beech Design Puzzle

Well, then, this is where we made the cut on the beech tree…


…to the first strong leader that continues a flowy trunk line.


Tony in a festive mood.


The new leader continues the flow of the trunk. In a couple years it too will be removed. Then the decision will have to be made whether to repeat the process, cutting to a new leader, or to begin keeping the top restrained and create a canopy. I think this tree will only get better, given its faults, if we do the process as least once more. One of my core beliefs with a tree that has faults like this is to grow it into the next size larger bonsai. Literally, grow it out of its problems.

dsc_0935If we had cut to one of the smaller, weaker branches below the leader, we would have lost about a year of momentum in the tree. To build up momentum in the new leader, I let it push for a year, trimming back the other branches on the tree. In other words, I preselected the place I was going to cut back to a year in advance. With that vigor continued, the cut will callus faster, and I won’t lose time building the tree’s trunk.

Here’s the first part of this design puzzle:

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  1. Symon says:

    Thanks for the great post and your wonderful blog. I am curious about how the curve between the two cuts was achieved? Was it wired in or did you select a leader with natural movement? Also is that foil on the old cut?

  2. Graham says:

    Hi Michel……seems like I got this one LOL….. I notice that the cut looks shiny as in “sap flow”, did you seal the cut as you did on the one from last treatment?

  3. Sandy says:

    Perfect. Just what I had thought.

  4. john pitt says:

    what is the purpose of the blue(grafting?) tape? used the foil before to help callousing, but not the tape in this way, to help keep a flat callous?

    • crataegus says:

      Yes, the tape was really just to keep the foil on, which seems to come off easily when the callus grows. A clear tape would have been a better choice, really.

  5. Alan says:

    Michael, Thanks for the great explanation. I honestly would have choose to cut it to one of the weaker branches on the left side, but I now understand how that might slow the tree down. I like the idea of trying to get the tree to outgrow its flaws. I never did get to ask you what the tin foil was for on the old cut wound? Keeping the aliens at bay or a mini incubater for the wound? These articles are great, keep them coming!

  6. georgeaj01 says:

    This was a very helpful post for those of us who are not “masters.” We can see what you had, what you did and most importantly, why you did it that way. Thanks. I can use this information on a hornbeam I have with similar issues. >

  7. David says:

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for the interesting post. I also have a Japanese beech with some choices to make but that keeps it interesting. I am missing branches. What is the best way to graft branches on a beech? So far my contact grafts didn’t work :-(.

    • crataegus says:

      It’s really a challenge! I’ve tried both approach grafts and thread grafts and the approaches finally take but they make a rather ugly graft. So…I’m not too happy yet with my grafting on beeches. It works, but it does take a while. Definitely push your tree when grafting, for the stock cambium in particular needs encouragement.

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