Last year I did some initial cutback and wiring on a cork oak that was one year out of the ground (see “Stimulating new buds on cork oak” for details).
The tree has grown well over the past year and is now ready for another cutback.
The part of the tree I’m most interested in developing at this stage is the apex. Here’s a close-up of the area I cut back to last year.
New shoots near former apex
As you can see, the trunk is straight in this section. Or maybe you can’t see – let’s clear away the new shoots to get a better view.
After removing new shoots
I’ve decided to use the curvy branch on the left for a new apex so I won’t need branches above this point.
Once the new apex thickens, I’ll remove the top of the trunk by cutting between the new apex and the branch indicated on the right.
Top branch on the right side of the tree
Once that was settled, I reduced the strong shoots emerging from the top of the old apex.
Some wiring added shape to the future branches.
Here’s a closer look.
After wiring – close-up
To get a better idea of what the tree will look like after I remove the old leader, I covered it up with a towel.
The future trunk line
I’ll let the tree grow for another year at this point as the apex and main branches need to thicken.