The last deciduous tree in my garden to open up this spring was a European beech. Normally I pinch the new shoots as they open, but as this tree was recently repotted, I let the new shoots elongate to help the tree recover. Now that it’s clear that the tree responded well to the work, It’s time to prune.
Beech naturally produce strong growth in the upper branches. By reducing new shoots in this area to just two leaves, I can let more light into the tree’s interior and encourage the lower branches to gain vigor.
Here’s the tree before and after thinning the upper branches.
After thinning the upper branches – 33″
Beech don’t reliably produce new growth in summer so I don’t expect to prune again until fall. In the meantime, I’ll keep the tree well-watered and fertilize through summer to prepare the tree for the next growing season.
New episodes on the Bonsai Wire podcast
John, Michael, Andrew and I recently got together to talk about spring-work in our respective gardens. It was fun to compare notes about how we’re pinching, pruning, watering and fertilizing.
I also had the opportunity to speak with artist and bonsai student Cheryl McAlister about how we learn bonsai in terms of our approaches to other artistic endeavors like painting.
Listen to both episodes now at: BonsaiWirePodcast.com
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