Working Trees in the Summer

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Working Trees in the Summer

Post  wabashene on Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:53 am


I do not recommend working on trees heavily in the summer unless you are confident regarding how the species will react

A few years back in July, I posted the following on another site.

Quote "A few interesting things I’ve observed recently as I have several trees growing out on an allotment.

European Beech , Hornbeam and Oak (Quercus Robur) are in the midst of a strong, second flush of growth just now.

Seeing this coming I undertook the following tasks.

1/ Pruned back and defoliated a copper beech and a hornbeam and
now have second crops of much smaller leaves.

2/ Transplanted four 3 yr old oak saplings removing large tap roots in the process.
These have been watered heavily for the last 4 weeks and appear to be thriving.

3/ Lifted, root pruned, trunk chopped and re-planted an oak stump to continue its
development. (fate not yet determined but am confident)

Pine and juniper seem very quiet growth-wise but larch and true cedars are still shooting like mad. Pruning is producing a lot of smaller shoots back on the branches.

Also took a chance with an English Elm (Ulmus procera). Lifted it, root pruned and placed in a pond basket at home. Has had a heavy prune since and is responding well with tiny new leaves and shoots.

It also well known that late summer work on certain pines is perfectly possible and in some cases more beneficial/desirable arguably than spring work.

It seems that other trees are perfectly happy to have summer work done on them.

Harry Harriington’s work with English Oak supports this for one species at least.

If the attached is an approximate growth v time curve, the green appears to be good times to do work and the red bad times.

Not original thought and not particularly scientific. Certainly root growth periods vs. foliage growth periods also comes into it as well.

Working on a tree that's starting to relax after an activity burst may relax it to death, where as working on a tree that's just warming up may just make it take a little longer to warm up.

Not advocating this for everyone and I may yet pay the price.


All the above mentioned trees are doing well btw

Here's another example - a grafted, garden centre Acer Katsura. This was "untimely ripped" from my front border in a fit of boredom in late June, potted up in a pond basket and watered well over the proceeding 3 weeks as UK weather has been pretty hot and dry (until today that is)

The tree has been 100% defoliated gradually as the old leaves died off and has now presented with a nice crop of new leaves as shown in last night's pic.

May make a decent tree yet.

I acquired 2 small larch yamadori from Chris Thomas in May, that have been chopped and pruned heavily over the last few weeks and are responding like they're loving it.




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Re: Working Trees in the Summer

Post  my nellie on Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:25 am

Interesting remarks! And it's important they are made on practice. I believe, anyone having the same species and living in the same climate zone can make good use of them.
Thanks for posting the results of your experience, Tim.
my nellie

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Re: Working Trees in the Summer

Post  Benjamin on Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:42 pm

My experience collecting trees from the wild supports your theory. I've had good luck (i.e, 100% success rate, albeit with a fairly small sample size) collecting in mid-August. Intuitively, it makes sense: better to do something traumatic to a tree just as it is about to have the energy/growth conditions to heal than just as it is entering a period where it lacks the energy/growth conditions to do so.


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Re: Working Trees in the Summer

Post  marcus watts on Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:57 pm

like yourself i work many trees in the summer - this year major styling and pruning work on larch and yew with 99% branch survival, a repot on the very big mature deshojo has given a growth spurt that will harden before winter, juniper major restyling gone well etc etc. i think if you are confident in your ability as a horteculturist most tasks are fine in the summer - you need access to shade netting, misting, and most importantly healthy trees though.

For the last few years i have avoided all styling & major work from nov-march and my trees have never been better.

dont have a clue what global zone i'm in tho - north cornish coast, 6 mile inland
marcus watts

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Working Trees in Summer

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:32 am

marcus watts wrote:
dont have a clue what global zone i'm in tho - north cornish coast, 6 mile inland
Go here:
You are in Zone 9b or 10a, same as south Florida. And you are north of the 50th Parallel, which blew my mind. Thank your lucky stars for the Gulf Stream. I am in Zone 5 on the 43rd Parallel.

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Re: Working Trees in the Summer

Post  AlainK on Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:55 am

On the whole, I agree with working trees in the summer : off and on, we have similar climates.

But this year was a bit particular : the heat in june was so much that in spite of regular watering, some of my trees suffered. Cooler, but mainly dry and windy weather followed in July : no good Evil or Very Mad

And now, it's been hot (25-28°) with showers of rain.

The maples are not very well, and I'm afraid that those that have lost leaves might get root rot if it rains a lot now.

Others (beech, pyracantha, elm, ...) are putting out new shoots, just like in spring. Shocked

So I prefer to be cautious now, and wait and see...

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