Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

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Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:20 pm

I've got a jaboticaba that I've been working on for about a year now. It's young and small, but has a decent trunk line and a number of well-placed branches. However, on the upper half of the tree, there are several large "gaps" without branches on the trunk. I'd like to fill in these areas if possible, and sooner rather than later, as the existing branches are developing decent size already.

I know there are several potential options to deal with the lack of branching, and was hoping some might have experience...either with jaboticaba or other species:

(1) I've read somewhere that nicking or making small cuts in trunks can sometimes encourage new bud/branch growth. However, I can't find specific references. Has anyone done this with success (not necessarily on jaboticaba)? If so, how does one do this - just nick/slice the trunk, or do you remove a small piece of trunk material (like you would in layering, but just a smaller area)? How deep? I would guess if this was going to work, the new bud(s) would most likely form below the nick/cut.

(2) Grafting (thread or approach)...has anyone successfully grafted branches onto jaboticaba? I haven't found any useful references on the internet. The trunk segment in question is about 1/2 inch thick.

(3) Cut trunk below bare region and regrow top half of tree...I'm willing to consider this but would rather try other approaches first.

(4) Maybe very hard pruning of the entire tree - removing all or most of the foliage - would encourage some budding on the trunk? But it might not be where I need it anway.

Would appreciate any thoughts/experiences. Thanks!

Chris


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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  drgonzo on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:48 pm

Hi Chris

Could we get a picture of the tree? I remember you mentioning what a strong grower this guy is even in winter. I have no experience with Jabo's but I have reasonable experience with other woody tropicals, you could wait until the strong growth in spring THEN cut the crown of the tree back very hard, (one node hard) and defoliate the rest of the tree. But its still a gamble that she'll pop where you want her to.

I'll tell you I had a VERY similar dilemma with my main specimen Bougy, it had an atrocious apex, and I fooled and fooled with hard pruning and defoliations till I just gave in an chopped it off and regrew a new leader, did that in the spring this year and she looks excellent now, The decision was drastic but in the long run I now have a much nicer leader from which to work and it will only be another season and It will be all set. Taking all that growth energy away from the apex also really helped fill in the already nice branches I had below it too. Win-win I thought.

I have never heard of 'nicking' a trunk in order to encourage adventitious buds but I'd love to know more about it if anyone else knows.

So far I hate to say it brother but I'm for option #3
-Jay

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:49 am

Jay,

Don't have a photo handy but maybe I'll be able to get one tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your experience with the bougy. I might have to go that route because I've let some of the upper branches get a little too thick, but we'll see what this winters growth brings.

I don't know where I've read about "nicking" the trunk to induce bud growth...maybe I dreamed it! No, I'm pretty sure I've seen it somewhere. Gonna give that a try as a first attempt, while growing out some longer branches for possible grafting next summer. May as well practice, since that's what it's for.

Oh, by the way - may want to check if your mail box is full...I sent a PM a day or two ago that is still sitting in my outbox.

Chris

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:15 am

Jay,

Here are a couple of photos of the jaboticaba. For reference, the tree is about 15-16" tall and the trunk base is about 3/4". It's been "in training" for about a year now, and obviously has a long way to go. However, I do kind of like the way it's shaping up (though I'd welcome any constructive suggestions/critiques). I let some of the upper branches get away a little, they're getting thick. Gonna have to work on that....

Photo 1) Whole tree "as is":


Photo 2) Tree with "extraneous" foliage deleted (we currently have some branches trained into the gap areas, labeled A, B, C - not an acceptable long term solution) You can better appreciate the gaps this way:


I have partially answered my own question about "nicking" the trunk to encourage budding. I've found references to a technique called "notching" which is apparently used by fruit growers. They will make a notch either just above or just below a bud to encourage either vegetative or fruiting growth. Here is one reference: Pruning and training apple trees

I only found one reference to potential use of notching for bonsai: Bonsai Trees and Growth Hormones

I'm going to try this notching method but am still curious as to whether anyone else has had success with it. One basic problem with the jaboticaba is that the dormant buds are not visible...so I'll just try notching in a few places on the back/side of the trunk and see if anything happens.

Chris

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  drgonzo on Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:46 am

First of all Chris let me congratulate you on taking MUCH BETTER pictures of your Bonsai then I do.

Second; The tree looks great what-cha complaining about? Laughing

Seriously though I do see the bare spot at "A" and if that were my tree I would first try a total defoliation in early summer and point that bare side toward nice direct sun. I would bet you a pot bound ficus you could get buds to break on that side. the only branch that bothers me is your number 3 branch, that would be what I would remove to help balance the branch placement. The other thing I would think about is slipping it into say a 3 gallon and letting it really grow a bit to help fill it in, thats all you need is just a bit of fill in. Id also leave the apex alone, you've got a great start with that tree branch wise.
-Jay

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  drgonzo on Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:56 am

try this out... see how removing #3 branch balances the negative space, The point at "A" is now not so noticeable.


then wire down where the arrows are...just a thought. Very Happy

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:23 pm

Jay, in some ways that looks better. However, that #3 branch is actually a pseudo-back branch. Right now there's a little too much foliage out on the end of it, but in person it adds important depth. If that is removed, there is only 1 back branch, which is at the level of the first right-side branch (can't really be seen in the photo), and the tree has no depth whatsoever. I think the better approach will be to direct more of its growth toward the back. Also, I'd rather add branches to fill the gaps, then subtract later if necessary. Plus, the branches are already tending to get a little thick...I need to control that and it would help to have additional branches to take some of the weight.

As for the photos...best thing is to get rid of distracting backgrounds. I just put this in front of a closed window (white shade) and lit it from the front/side...then used a camera on a tripod to get a clear shot (the amount of light was too low to get a good shot by hand). Then a little photoshopping to adjust contrast and remove the background shadows. Easier to do with the smaller trees!

Chris

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  drgonzo on Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:35 pm

you know I had wondered if maybe that was a back branch...
-Jay

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  Cullen Wegman on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:25 pm

I have a Jaboticaba as well and I know how frustrating this can be. Unfortunately Jaboticabas are strongly apically dominant. You essentially have to train them from the ground up in sections letting to lower portions of the tree develop rather fully before allowing growth higher up. Higher branches will always thicken much more quickly than ones lower down. This problem resulted in me chopping two thirds off the top of my own Jaboticaba because of the large bare spots in the lower half that simply refused to bud no matter how aggressively I pruned the upper portion. You have way more tree to lose than I did so I would think that attempting some grafts is probably your best bet. Best of luck to you.

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:53 pm

Cullen,

Thanks for sharing your experience with the jaboticaba. Sounds like I may be doing some chopping in the future! I will sequentially try (1) notching (2) grafting first (and maybe a hard pruning at some point). There's not a lot written about this species as far as I can tell.

BTW, are you a member of the BSUNY? Not sure where you're located in NY but you have mentioned visiting the arboretum a couple of times. Let me know if you're going to be at the meeting Tuesday.

Chris

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:57 am

Thought I'd post a quick update here for 2 reasons -

1) I tried the trunk notching method. Made 3 horizontal notches at places where I'd like a branch. Removed a small wedge down to/through the cambium. So far, no signs of buds at all, and the wedges are healing over rapidly. I may try again when the tree goes outside next spring/summer - perhaps the stronger light and warmer conditions, along with some hard pruning, will give a greater chance for success. In the meantime, I'm going to allow a couple of potential grafting shoots to grow out.

2) Was going through some old pics and found a shot of the tree from a year ago, right after acquiring it. Unfortunately I wasn't very careful to get a really useful photo (top is cut off, but there wasn't really anything up there anyway), but it's good enough to show some of the development that has occurred in 1 year. That bare section of the trunk is really obvious in this shot.



Chris

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  drgonzo on Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:01 am

Chris-

Its actually come along very nicely in such a short span of time, I notice it in the trunk girth, your foliage pads have also progressed nicely. This one is a real candidate for slipping out of the bonsai pot and growing it on for only a couple years, Also if you were going to try grafting, the vigorous health that accompanies vigorous growth will help your grafting take even better and faster.
-Jay

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with photofilter

Post  abcd on Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:13 am

I also think that he first branche inside curv is not at the good place .

[img][/img]

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

Post  coh on Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:59 pm

Yes, I've had several people "urge" me to remove that branch. It may well be removed at some point, but not yet...I want to keep it around to help thicken the lower trunk. Easy to remove, not so easy to put back Smile especially with jaboticaba...

Chris

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Re: Encouraging budding on trunks (specifically: jaboticaba)

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