I’ve had this ume bonsai for a long time. Several years ago, the tree lost all but a single branch due to fungus. The branch survived, and I’ve been letting the tree grow freely so it can regain some vigor. Now that the tree is strong again, it’s time for some cutback.
One benefit of the dieback is that there is now lots of deadwood on the tree.
Close-up of the deadwood
Looking closer at the branch structure, much of the foliage emerges from a single, straight branch with little ramification.
Straight branch – not good for the tree’s design
The simple solution is to remove the branch. Early spring is the best time for removing large branches on deciduous bonsai as the trees are generally growing quickly and can begin to heal immediately. Here’s the tree after making the cut.
After removing the straight branch
The removed branch
Some cutback of the remaining branches was necessary.
After shortening some of the remaining branches
The cutback encouraged me to take a closer look at the tree from the other side. As the deadwood is more interesting there, it may become the new front.
Potential new front
The tree still has a ways to go, and some wiring will be necessary to help set the main branches. For the time being, however, the goal will be to thicken the main trunk line and increase branch ramification.
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