Container grown trees

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Container grown trees

Post  steveb on Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:57 am

I bought a Korean hornbeam at the Carolina Expo last fall with a 1"' trunk and is 15" tall. I read that large scars don't heal well and the best specimens are entirely container grown, with no major chops. I have dozens of other trees that I'm field growing and have chopped or plan to chop and understand that process fairly well.

I haven't found any information about how to container-develop a pre bonsai. Do I choose branches now? Do I constantly trim to keep the silhouette? How do I keep the branches and trunk in proportion over years of training?

Or should I plop it in the ground and chop it back in 3-5 years?

Thanks
Steve

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Re: Container grown trees

Post  MichaelS on Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:07 am

Most of the ''best'' Korean Hornbeams I've seen have been collected so I presume they were all cut back heavily at some stage. No doubt any resulting scars would be slow to heal but these trees are still very impressive so I guess that with good management of the scars you will end up with a good tree regardless. I don't have the Korean Hornbeam(unfortunately) but I do have the turczaninovii and I can confirm that cuts are very slow to heal over on these too. I had a few in pots which were transfered back to the ground to help resolve the pruning scar problem as well as increase the trunk caliper. It is a slow process but in the end you will get there if you're not in a hurry. Training in pots is the same as growing in the ground except that it is much slower. If you want a really large specimen you will need to put them in the ground and be prepared to have larger pruning cuts along with the larger diameter. You don't worry about branches at all with ground trees. Just let them shoot away for 1 or 2 years then select one leader, cut that back to 2 or so buds and remove everything else entirely. Repeat until you're satisfied with the trunk size then transfer to the pot for branch formation. With luck, the first heavy prune will be almost healed over by the time you lift them. The first inch of the new branches should be formed the same way you formed the top of the trunk. That is: wire them into postion when they are matchstick thick, when set in place remove the wire and let grow the entire season. Of course you will need to restrain some depending on their vigor and position on the tree. At the end of the season cut back to 2 buds (which will then ramify into 2 or three new branches) and you're on your way. You should only add 1 to 1 and 1/2 inches (max) per year for a really nice natural movement and ramification.
That's the way I do it anyway.

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Re: Container grown trees

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:19 pm

Steve,

look up - air-pot and colander.

I don't know if a hornbeam will trunk thicken in a pot. To test for trunk thickening ability, I simply
grow the bottom branch out , some like the ficus work on just 3' [ say 1 m ] others have to
grow out more.
Experiment.

1" trunk to 15" height say eventually - 3" trunk ?

Also for roots, an upside down tile or a wooden circle, with holes for tying down the planned for
surface roots, use cotton string or twine [ yes, you want it to rot and not cut the roots ]

As usual take a few cuttings and experiment on them, not on your main tree.
Until.
Khaimraj

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Re: Container grown trees

Post  steveb on Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:09 am

Thank you for the replies Michael and Khaimraj. While I've been ground growing trees for about 6 years, as I mentioned, I haven't necessarily been doing it right.  With maples and elms they seem to be somewhat forgiving as far as roots and scar healing goes.  What both of you reminded me of, which I remember reading at one time but have forgotten, was that growing in the ground doesn't mean to plop it in a hole and forget about it.  

Khai, You suggest planting it on a flat surface, spreading the roots, and anchoring them with degradable ties.   I am going to do just this.  I have other smaller trees that I'll experiment with as you recommend. 

Michael, thank you for the detailed instructions on growing out the trunk and creating good branching.  As you describe, there is a lot of work to do even when ground growing. This is something that I haven't done very well so far. That will change now. I will keep your reply well marked. 

Thanks again guys. 
Steve

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Re: Container grown trees

Post  MichaelS on Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:17 am

No problem Steve but I forgot to mention! don't forget to lift every 2 years (at the most) and prune the roots hard! before replanting!

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Re: Container grown trees

Post  steveb on Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:20 am

Gotcha.  There is so much to remember. THANKS!

Btw. Your pines look great.  The clump style tree will look really nice in a few years.

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Re: Container grown trees

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:22 am

thanks from me too michael... i copy and printed your brief synopsis and will put it to use...

cheers

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