Most deciduous trees share the same story this time of year – remove old leaves, cutback, and wire. Doing this work gets trees ready for spring.
I’ve been working on the Japanese Winterberry (ilex serrata) below for several years now. Most of the young branches are new to the tree, and will require a number of years more before they’re ready for show.
Japanese winterberry in fall
I begin by removing the old leaves. Although there’s plenty of new growth, most will be cut away to encourage ramification and taper.
After stripping the leaves
I left a few of the branches long – these will be cut when the tree is wired.
The tree doesn’t look like much at this point. There is a nice trunk, but little branching and tree is sorely need of an apex. In the coming years I’ll let a few branches near the apex grow to ease the transition between trunk and apex. Once the apex is large enough, I can cut the stub of the current apex away, creating a much more refined-looking tree.
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