By the time Summer heat sneaks up on us, it can really knock you out.
Fortunately, I knew the heat wave was coming soon, and I've been moving most of my vulnerable bonsai trees into the shade. This tree however, prefers the full sun, and is not shy of harshest beating.
Trees like this evergreen conifer, the Arborvitae, are from the Cedar family. The fence I photographed it in front of might be cedar wood, recognizable by the red wood. This tree has a beautiful copper red bark.
Since the tree has become so bushy with green this year, and will continue to produce thick growth in this way, as is it's habit, I decided it looked healthy enough for a trim.
Any time foliage is removed from a conifer, it robs the tree of it's energy. By trimming in Summer, it gives the tree an opportunity to regrow. Any green foliage, and sometimes the wood itself, newly exposed to sunlight are going to be forced to manufacture new green foliage to slowly replace the areas I have removed.
Age: 7 or 8 years
Grown: #yamadori (A sprouted cutting from the root where it was growing as a sucker weed)
Last repotting: November 9, 2018
Last wired: July 31, 2019
Trees always take on a more elegant form after a full trim.
In Summer, I only prune off the green parts. Pruning the woody parts would expose the sap to run and quickly drain the tree of life-essential energy. Thankfully this tree already has a nice style, and probably won't need any wood pruning this year.
The first thing we notice is the shape of the trunk and branches. They are curvaceous and upward angled. The heavy weight has been lifted off.
Any time I have green clusters growing off a branch, I like to pick away any nearby competing green shoots, so there is only one shoot growing from a single node. This improves the taper of the branch into the thin shoot, so no abnormal thickened areas form in between.
The stems tend to form wide feathery clusters of multiscaled pieces. I like to shave everything off the main stem so it extends a bit from the branch before allowing it to separate out. This aesthetic allows the viewer to follow the path of the branchlet into the spreading green a bit easier.
Lastly, I trim down the clusters of green needles into smaller size. Instead of large fans the size of my hand, they are minimized to about 1/4 this total size. Given a choice of which parts of the branchlet to favor, I usually pick the ones forming a natural downward or outward angle. Near the top of the tree, I favor fronds that are heading more upward.
On the lowest left branch, the first branchlet was becoming a major eye-poker, a branch that sticks forward from the front view. Not sure how to deal with that forward depth space it creates, other than reduce some it's length and side branchlets. This tree could stand another annual wiring in early Autumn.
To trim this much off will weaken the tree and slow down its growth a lot. Personally, I prefer a fast growing tree like this to grow slower. I get better results with natural branch shape that way. Still, it's a lot of stress on the tree, so I'll not be trimming the tree this drastically for another year or so. Maybe just a bit of pinching off suckers that appear in cramped nooks.
This weekend I'll probably give my tree a fresh application of fertilizer to give it an added boost. Nitrogen will invigorate the current growth on the tree to green up, and allow it to better photosynthesize sunlight into energy.
By mid-July or August, we can expect the tree to have built up enough energy to push out some new growth shoots again.
Find me on discord and chat with other tree growers, bonsai enthusiasts, and gardeners. Seeking mods interested in keeping the new community clean.