Last December, I decided to take a big step to improve the branch structure on a Chinese quince. I cut off most of the branches.
The tree was fairly ramified, but the size and arrangement of the branches didn’t convey the gnarly character that I associate with quince bonsai. The remedy, although severe, is the fastest way to make improvements. Here’s what this work looked like.
Chinese quince – December, 2019
After removing the leaves – note the angular branch structure
After reducing the branches
I liked the movement at the base of the branches so I cut them short instead of completely removing them. Cutting back also made it easy to see that the tree looked better at a new angle.
I repotted the tree after cutback to preserve the angle change. Since then, the tree has been growing vigorously.
New shoots on Chinese quince
To get the tree back into shape, I made two kinds of cuts. I first reduced the spring growth back to 2-3 buds. Next, I removed any branches that wouldn’t be part of the final design (new shoots growing from the trunk, downward growing branches, and branches growing inward back toward the trunk).
Here’s the tree after spring cutback.
Chinese quince – 8″ tall
The remaining branches were short enough that they didn’t need wiring. I’ll let the tree grow freely through summer and look to prune again in fall.
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