Creating very compact ramification on Bald Cypress?

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#1
Greetings!

I'm looking for tips on creating the most compact ramification possible on Bald Cypress.

If I trim a branch it will often bud at the tip of that branch and fork, but it seems if I do this in the fall that branch or twig will die back during the winter. What is the best method and timing for pruning them to get the smallest internode length possible?

Also, is there a way to tell which buds will elongate into branches and which are just leaves?

Thanks!
Keegan
 

Anthony

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#2
Keegan,

look for a hairy cultivar.

Plus at least 10 to experiment on.
Take written notes.
Good Day
Anthony

*And yes, the tree grows in the tropics - self dormant - since 1980.
 

rockm

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#5
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#7
I have noticed dieback too sometimes if I cutback in the fall and winter, so I don't, anymore. I do an initial cutback in the spring as soon a the buds are visible, allow the new growth to extend then wire it into place and trim out what is undesirable. You don't have to wait until it lignifies to wire or cut. As soon as the branch sets, I take the wire off, cutback again, and start the process all over again. Sometimes I can get three cycles of this in one season. I never defoliate, except for removing a leaf or two that might be in the way while wiring.

Here is what I got so far:



It is hard to tell from the buds which one is gonna be a branch or a compound leaf (some call it a "frond"), you just gotta roll with what you get.
 

Dav4

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#8
Let the new branch grow out and begin to lignify, then cut back hard- maybe leaving 2 inches... let the new buds begin to extend and grow out and begin to lignify, then cut back hard- maybe leaving 2 inches... rinse and repeat 3-4 times during the summer if your tree is healthy, well fed, and you live in a climate that baldies enjoy.
 
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#10
So to answer your question - what you want is tight growth like this. Took these a minute ago.

View attachment 231906 View attachment 231907 View attachment 231908

To do this and then continue to build more ramification during the season there are actually 3 things that can be done.
1. Fertilizer-wise treat it like a deciduous tree and hold the fert off until after the first flush of growth.
2. When that first flush of growth hardens off trim the leaves back to about 1-2". Trim from underneath the leaves and you can just cut the leaf spine easier and avoid cutting the individual needles straight across. This will push split growth from the shoots and create fine twigging.
3. This is a maybe step. IF the tree is super healthy and pushing foliage and new growth then you can do a summer defoliation of the whole tree. This I really only recommend after a season or two of the first two steps and then only every couple years or for show prep.
 
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#14
Is that something you do up in Fairfax? Zach has a much longer gowing season than we do so I wonder how well that works in the more northern extent of their range?
 
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rockm

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#16
Is that something you do up in Fairfax? Zach has a much longer gowing season than we do so I wonder how well that works in the more northern extent of their range?
Yes. Can be done here. have to do it with a healthy tree right after the leaves "harden" usually around mid-late May.
 
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#17
@choppychoppy, just to clarify this, do you mean cutting the actual leaves basically in half? sort of like cutting broadleaf evergreen leaves in half? and that stimulates it to put out more shoots?

"2. When that first flush of growth hardens off trim the leaves back to about 1-2". Trim from underneath the leaves and you can just cut the leaf spine easier and avoid cutting the individual needles straight across. This will push split growth from the shoots and create fine twigging."
 
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#18
@choppychoppy, just to clarify this, do you mean cutting the actual leaves basically in half? sort of like cutting broadleaf evergreen leaves in half? and that stimulates it to put out more shoots?

"2. When that first flush of growth hardens off trim the leaves back to about 1-2". Trim from underneath the leaves and you can just cut the leaf spine easier and avoid cutting the individual needles straight across. This will push split growth from the shoots and create fine twigging."

Yes
 

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