Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How I discovered the hedge pruning method

This is how I found out about the hedge cutting method:

Many years ago I got several batches of trees, one very similar maples, the other elms, and then some cherries. I picked the best ones of the batch and declared them part of my collection. I planted them into good pots and cared for them for many years according to what I had learned is the 'right' way.

The other ones were for sale. I thought highly of their quality and put price tags on them which were probably too high. They did not sell for a number of years.

One day in November when the leaves were off I finally had a close look at the sale plants and found something amazing. They were much better developed than the ones in my collection. Their trunks were about twice as  thick, the nebari was a lot better. The ramification was much better. The only thing that bothered me was that there were way too many branches looking untidy. So I took one after the other and edited the crown. I had the greatest problem: there were so many branches and buds that it was hard to choose. Anyway, in the end my sales trees were MUCH better then the ones in my collection.

What had happened? Well, Every spring I started working on my trees, first with the best ones, of course. After a few weeks I had done abut 200 trees. I never came to the sales lot for lack of time. So I let these grow freely for a few weeks. When they were so big that they dried out very quickly for having too much foliage I took a large hedge pruner and cut them back ruthlessly. Two to three months later I did the same thing. And then in late fall when there was not the danger of the trees throwing shoots anymore. In between I used my aggressive watering and feeding regime, feeding MUCH more than most people would.

And then I decided to do this with all trees on a regular basis. From then on the quality of my collection suddenly rose significantly and continues to do so.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good explanation and I also follow this method... every plant deserves to be happier.

Guido Trombetta said...

I think that a link to the original explanation of the method post could be usedul for your readers:
http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.it/2013/02/refurbishing-japanese-maple-hedge.html?m=1

Dave Kirkland said...

The truth of this is so clear from your blog.

Sharing this discovery as effectively as you have is a great service to the bonsai community. Many thanks Walter.

Nick G said...

The irony of caring for bonsai! As trees that are trained and maintained for aesthetics, it is funny that in order to care for them to achieve the most effective growth, one must leave them to grow unkept for most of the time! The so called "niche" (period when the tree looks most presentable) may only be a couple of weeks at a time!

Such is this great hobby...