Beautyberry is a great deciduous shrub known for its purple fruit in fall and winter. This show of color makes it a popular choice for shohin as it provides contrast and color to multi-tree displays.
I repotted a young beautyberry this past February and have been letting it grow freely since. It was time to give it a haircut, so I started by cutting back the longest shoots to the silhouette the tree had in spring.
Beautyberry before pruning
After cutting back to the original silhouette.
If I didn’t care much about the branch structure, I could have stopped here and left the tree on the large side given its slender trunk. This wasn’t a satisfactory option so I removed duplicate branches and removed some of the coarse growth.
After additional cutback
Depending on how large a tree I wanted to make, this could be a reasonable stopping point (with or without the large branch on the right, depending on the plan). This approach didn’t feel good either so I removed all of the branches that felt too long given the internodes at the base of the trunk.
After removing branches with long internodes
This approach will let me make a smaller tree as I no longer need to let it grow into a size that made sense for the long branch internodes.
Large internodes on cut branch
For those who haven’t worked with the species, they respond well to strong or frequent cutback when they’re healthy. Here’s the tree three weeks later.
New growth – 4-1/2 tall”
By cutting back whenever new shoots get too long, I can encourage the tree to produce more and more shoots in the interior which will help me create a smaller tree with greater density.
2023 GSBF Rendezvous update
The Golden State Bonsai Federation Rendezvous will be held October 20-22, 2023, at the Hotel Mission de Oro in Santa Nella, California. Here’s the latest.
- New workshops added – work on Hinoki cypress with Randall Lee, mame Yaupon holly and crabapple with Adam Toth, and San Jose juniper with Jason Chan (see full list of openings online). Get started by registering (or modifying your registration if you’ve already signed up) at the GSBF Rendezvous website.
- Support the event and help it run smoothly by volunteering (sign up here) and by donating trees, pots, and supplies to the silent auctions.
- You can find the full schedule of events, including headline demonstrations and critiques from Bjorn Bjornholm, silent and live auctions of trees, and free seminars open to registrants at the Rendezvous schedule page. I’ll be leading seminars on evaluating exhibits and shopping for pre-bonsai material. To participate, register here.
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