Coast redwoods are a fantastic species for training as bonsai, and one that I plan to write about more going forward.
One fun thing about redwoods is that there are a number of different approaches to training them. Some people set the structure of the tree by pruning and wiring, while others build branches by repeated pinching to maintain short internodes. Both approaches can create compelling bonsai.
The tree below has a number of mature branches that lack ramification which makes them hard to use in the final design. When this is the case, I generally like to start over and grow new branches from scratch.
Although the tree is healthy, I hesitate to remove all of the branches as dramatic pruning can lead to dieback on redwoods. An alternative is to reduce the foliage with the aim of stimulating new shoots along the trunk that can be used for training.
For this work, friend and fellow redwood enthusiast Max did the pruning.
After pruning – 40″
Max removed about half of the foliage but left lots of healthy growth tips to help the tree recover from the work. The idea is to let the tree grow freely over the coming months in hopes of stimulating new shoots that I can work with next year.
In the meantime I’ll continue to take photos and will provide updates the next time I work on the tree.
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Hey Jonas. Would you recommend this technique for mature branches that I feel have missed the wiring window and may be too large to bend and have been going up for a significant amount of time?? Or would you recommend attempting heavy bends on mature branches in the fall?
Thank you for your input
Jonas Dupuich says
Hi Romo! If the branches are too large to bend into interesting shapes (or if you want any taper in the branches) I’d cut them back significantly. As for the timing, I’d wait for spring to make the cuts so the tree has plenty of time to recover during the growing season.