Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

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Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:49 am

Open discussion please. Mine is Tsuga canadensis. Any magazine issues I should keep an eye out for? I looked through some of my books and the best I could find was in a pruning book that said:" makes a great hedge with twice yearly cutting."
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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:58 pm

hoping someone chimes in here...
i scored a nice weeping one last year and would love to know better how to treat it to promote back budding, etc...

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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  MrFancyPlants on Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:24 pm

I forgot about Nick Lenz' book, "Bonsai from the Wild," which does have some good general care recommendations, but nothing about pruning approaches. I did some minor pruning on mine last night to remove growth that was crossing between branches, as well as cleaning up the growth on the sacrifice branches, and reducing some branches towards the top that were starting to get out of balance. I figure I might as well experiment on the sacrifice growth so I can see if it will bud back if I leave a stub with leaves. In general it seems to be forgiving, but it is tricky making some decisions.
For good measure I managed to "trim" my toe and shin on the stairs on the way to put the tree back outside (avoiding mosquitoes). I really did a number on my toe and am limping around nicely today. Don't worry, the tree and pot are fine.
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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  Dave Leppo on Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:34 am

I haven't found them to back-bud reliably. Sort of like Chamaecyparis, where you have to try to keep the close-in growth you have and work with it.

Murata, in "Four Seasons..." says to pinch or trim all the new spring growth, and more will come out in the summer that is tighter and neater. This is more of a finished-maintenance activity, not the design phase.

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Tsuga growth

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:05 pm

Thanks for the reference, I've already ordered a used copy of the book. I know that it is unlikely/impossible for Tsuga to bud back on wood, but thought that as long as I left some green that there was a  chance that I could get buds. Fortunately, to this point I have mainly focused on branch selection with a preference for inner growth and natural looking lines. I have heard that these take to grafting quite well which doesn't surprise me given their prodigious would callousing ability, so at some point I may resort to some thread grafts to really get the growth in where I want it, if any of the branches are getting too far out. I do have a lot to work with on the inside and will experiment some with different techniques on the sacrifice growth to try and push the limits as to how far back I can go into the growth and still expect buds. I'll try and root some cuttings in the spring as well so that I have more to experiment on and because I could use a nice shade tree in the back yard.
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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  BrendanR on Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:08 pm

I have one that I have been clip-and-grow pruning for a couple of years since December 2015 to make it more dense. Seems to work.

I started by wiring the branches into place and cutting back in winter anything too long or too awkward, and leaving the rest untrimmed if it was within the rough silhouette that I was after.  

It shot in spring 2016, and I left the new buds to lengthen and harden off.  Some came from the cuts, some from points further back from the cuts (but nothing on old wood) and some came from the untrimmed branches.

Late spring 2016 I trimmed back to any new bud closest to the trunk.  Quite a bit came off this way.  Obviously only where I needed to make changes.  Some parts were left alone to thicken, lengthen etc.

That second trimming resulted in a second flush.  Left alone until the winter 2016, when I repeated the exercise.  

This spring I trimmed again, and have had a good second flush.  I have needed to keep loads of green as I am trying to heal some very bug cuts.
I have been at it for 3 years, and it is dense and quite healthy.


Here it is as it arrived:







I'll take some pics this afternoon of it now and pop them here, tomorrow.

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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  MrFancyPlants on Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:10 pm

Thanks for the input. I am curious to see the update and/or older photos of the material when you get the chance. I am somewhat surprised to see a canadensis across the pond, although I've heard that the species is used for forestry in some parts of Europe. I wonder why we don't? It would seem to be an effective form of "carbon capture."
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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  BrendanR on Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:51 pm

Here are some pics from this morning.


 Also, here's a link to my flickr album where the there are more pics, and you can really zoom in.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/81136818@N06/albums/72157668961234636


I put a little stone in the pot so that you can see which side you are looking at.  In pic 1 it is on the LHS, then the stone is behind the trunk, then on the RHS and finally in front:



20170831_074817 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr





I have a feeling this is going to be the front of the tree:

20170831_074827 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr


20170831_074837 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr


20170831_074901 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr



Here are a few close-ups of the branches.  When I started these were long and did not really have much ramification.  I have progressively clipped back to any new shoots, and when new side shoots appear behind them I have cut back again to those new side shoots.  Always seeking to get the closest bifurcation as far back towards the trunk as possible.  


20170831_082215 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr


20170831_082227 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr


20170831_082235 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr




In this pic you can see the red line showing where I snipped the tip of this branch some time ago.  It was straight, had no side branches.  After the snip it put out a small side branch just behind the yellow line.  I shall next cut it back to the yellow line.

My experience is that it will then push out new branches further back.  Clip 'n grow working well on this tree.


2017-08-31_03-33-30 by BrendanR2012, on Flickr


I am being quite careful not to do too much all at once as I am learning what the tree will tolerate, so only a few branches at a time, and only in a few places on the tree.  This has been safe enough, and it also allowed me to compare trimmed v untrimmed branches.  I am quite sure that the trimming causes ramification, and can be used to control direction of growth and curves etc.  

Have you notice the serious inverse taper problem I have at the base of the tree?  I am likely going to have to carve it some more.  But wow they produce a load of gummy sap!

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Re: Tsuga, hemlock or "extending growth," type, clip and grow strategies?

Post  MrFancyPlants on Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:29 pm

Awesome, thanks so much, that is super informative.  I'll start by saying that mine never produced gummy sap or bled even when I chopped the top, so I would be careful that it might be a type of slime mold or jelly fungus? I have nothing to back that up other than that mine doesn't bleed and yours looks plenty healthy.  I think some hollowing could add character, and maybe adding some sacrifice growth from the base of some of the branches as well as the top could help get around the reverse taper. Mine has reverse taper too, but I've felt it is not too distracting with all of the beautiful foliage.  I don't think the reverse taper is too bad on yours, but these do tend to heal strongly but thick, if that makes sense, so removing branches with a little extra concavity is probably not a bad idea. Maybe repotting a little higher up next time to show more neberi could also help lessen the impact?

What sort of timing do you use for your clipping? A branch at a time throughout the growing season when the shoots get too long?  I was also thinking of doing some light peripheral hedging(removing just the tips of nearly all of the branches) this fall to try and encourage more buds to set further in, but I like your technique for next year. Maybe starting with the bottom branches and working my way up the tree every couple weeks so that the lower branches would have more growing season to recover.

edit: I see from your earlier post that you detailed your timing, and not too far off from what I am now planning. Thanks again.
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