I’ve been learning this year that doing the same work at a slightly different time can make a big difference. I usually thin my dwarf wisteria, Millettia japonica ‘Microphylla,’ in May, but this year I pruned it in June.
Dwarf wisteria before cutback
As you can see, the foliage is dense – so much so that the interior branches receive little light. By waiting an extra month to prune the tree, I risk losing interior branches and exaggerate the difference in vigor between the strong and weak areas of the tree.
The solution is simple – prune earlier. If I start in April next year, I can ensure that the interior branches receive adequate light throughout spring and summer.
This wasn’t much of an issue in the earlier stages of development, but now that the canopy is full, it’s time to reevaluate the approach and make sure the steps I take are aligned with the current design goals.
The work this year was similar to the work last year in that I reduced the new shoots to 1/4″ – 1/2″ long, and then reduced the leaves to between two and four leaflets each. (Thanks to Max and Christian for helping with this!)
After leaf pruning – 13″ tall
Seeing the above image reminded me that the last time I thinned this tree marked the first regular post I made to Instagram. Since then, I’ve used the site as a visual index of recent posts. Give it a try at @bonsaitonight.
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