Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

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Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Richard S on Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:40 pm

Hi folks

Does anyone here have any experience with trunk chopping purple/copper Beech? That's Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea to be precise.

The reason I ask is that a local garden centre has a number of these trees available with nice size trunks but none of the interesting ones have any low branches that could be used in a bonsai design. I would therefore need to chop back below any existing branches or obvious buds.

I know that with most deciduous trees this is not usually a problem and I have successfully trunk chopped Maples and Hornbeams before but I've read that Beech don't like their branches cut back beyond the last obvious bud and wondered if this applies to their trunks also?

Any advise gratefully received.

Regards

Richard

Richard S
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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  0soyoung on Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:25 am

I am confident that it is okay to chop them. Japanese maples are often described in a similar fashion because their branches/twigs will always die back to the nearest node when pruned in the internode. You maybe should leave a longer trunk with the initial chop and then cut to the height you want after it has started sprouting.

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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  arihato on Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:48 pm

Copper Beech is often grafted, so chopping back might give you undesired effects.
I found it easy to air layer Beech. Therefore I look at the crown if there is an interesting part to be layered, that way you are sure to have a 'copper' instead of green Beech. Copper Beech will take longer to layer than green Beech.
If the layer fails you can always chop back then.

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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Richard S on Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:41 pm

Thanks for the replies folks.

I agree that air layering is always an option and I do have some experience of this (although not with beech). However it was the existing trunks and root flare that attracted me to these particular trees so that's perhaps not the best choice in this case.

Maybe I'll try cutting back to the lowest branch and see what sprouts.

Thanks again guys.


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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  arihato on Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:36 pm

There is always the option to make some thread grafts, than you can go as low as you like. It is not that difficult and the success rate is fairly high.

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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Deano on Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:33 pm

Richard S wrote:Thanks for the replies folks.

I agree that air layering is always an option and I do have some experience of this (although not with beech). However it was the existing trunks and root flare that attracted me to these particular trees so that's perhaps not the best choice in this case.

Maybe I'll try cutting back to the lowest branch and see what sprouts.

Thanks again guys.


That's what I did. It loved it
http://dj-bonsai.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/fagus-sylvatica-purpurea.html

Then 3 months later...
http://dj-bonsai.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/autumnal-purple-beech.html

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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Richard S on Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:35 pm

Deano

Thanks for posting, very informative. Great tree as well with real potential. Please keep us updated on it's progress.

Regards

Richard


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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Deano on Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:43 am

Likewise, I'd be interested to see updates on yours as and when you start

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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Deano on Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:54 pm

update here:

http://dj-bonsai.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/fagus-sylvatica-purpurea-pt-2-dead-root.html

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Re: Purple/copper Beech trunk chop?

Post  Richard S on Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:55 pm

Thanks for the update Deano.

That dead root is a little strange given that the rest of the tree and root ball seems very healthy. Still well on track to be a very nice tree though.

I've got to say you have far more patience than me as well. I'd have just blasted the root ball with a jet of water! It leaves a very soggy mess on the floor but I've found it a lot quicker and often less damaging than trying to comb out roots with a rake or similar.

Then again, if it kept the kids happy for an hour or two  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing 

Regards

Richard

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