Development: Just let it grow vs WP's hedge clipping method

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Good day my fellow nuts.

As the title implies, I'd like to hear everyone's experience is with developing new stock as quickly as possible.

What are the pros and cons of each method?
 

Adair M

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This again? Rafael had a thread and an video where he “explained” the Walter Pall hedgepruning method, and it generated hundreds of posts.

Rather than rehash that… i suggest you read MarkyScott’s thread “Ebihara Maples”. There is a wealth of knowledge in that thread.

And if your really want to hear what everyone says about the WP hedge pruning, find that old thread by Rafael. Let’s not open that can of worms again…
 
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This again? Rafael had a thread and an video where he “explained” the Walter Pall hedgepruning method, and it generated hundreds of posts.

Rather than rehash that… i suggest you read MarkyScott’s thread “Ebihara Maples”. There is a wealth of knowledge in that thread.

And if your really want to hear what everyone says about the WP hedge pruning, find that old thread by Rafael. Let’s not open that can of worms again…
I wasn't asking for the WP hedge pruning method to be explained. I was asking what system members on the forum use.

I've read Rafaels thread, my intention wasn't to rehash that discussion.
 
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Doesn't Pall use super old collected trees? Those techniques would be quite different
I wasn't asking for the WP hedge pruning method to be explained. I was asking what system members on the forum use.

I've read Rafaels thread, my intention wasn't to rehash that discussion.

You actually asked what the pros and cons of each method were. Which I suspect are covered in the referenced material.

Methods for growing prebonsai are known and established, and are different for each species. A thick trunk pine is done totally different than a maple. Same goes for the ramification stage. Why not just bring up a specific tree you're wanted to learn about?
 
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Doesn't Pall use super old collected trees? Those techniques would be quite different

You actually asked what the pros and cons of each method were. Which I suspect are covered in the referenced material.

Methods for growing prebonsai are known and established, and are different for each species. A thick trunk pine is done totally different than a maple. Same goes for the ramification stage. Why not just bring up a specific tree you're wanted to learn about?
Really, you don't prune a Pine like a Maple? Thanks for that.
 

dbonsaiw

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Really, you don't prune a Pine like a Maple? Thanks for that.
LOL. Like bonsai generally, patience is required in fielding responses to bonsai questions as well. Reading comprehension isn't always the strong point here and folks like to answer whatever question they like, regardless if it was the actual question asked. On the flip side, us noobs tend to come in with the same questions that have been asked and answered here many times before. The references from AdairM are actually quite helpful.
 

dbonsaiw

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At the risk of stepping in it, I'll say this. I have only used a hedge type method when I already have a basic structure of the canopy and want to increase branch ramification. I don't have the skills, confidence or quantity of trees WP does, so I have never taken the big sheers to any of my trees and work much more slowly even if I am using a hedge method. Most of my trees are in an earlier stage of development and I will just let everything grow until I get the thickness and branching I want and then cut back - more of a cut and grow method. Even when using a hedge method, I have to be careful that I am actually forming a miniature tree and not a small hedge - I don't want my maple trees looking like a Home Depot spruce.

I know folks say they use the hedge method on developing trees, but perhaps the question to be asked is what stage of development are the trees in? If you look at the WP trees on this site, you will see they all begin as excellent specimens and he endeavors to make them even better. In short, he is using the hedge method on trees that already have a developed canopy and need further ramification.

I am a big proponent of the general hypothetical bonsai questions as a learning tool, but perhaps if you had a specific tree in mind you could share that for some more targeted advice.
 

Maiden69

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It all depends on what you want to accomplish and what look you are going for. I admire WP's trees as much as I admire any traditionally built tree, as I do the more natural look that Ryan Neil is pushing to his deciduous trees. I think there is no right or wrong as long as you are happy with what you do. If you hear WP's explanation of what he does, and how it worked for his trees, from development to trees that are worth 6 figures you will understand that his goal is not to build a traditional style bonsai.

From what he says, his method do tent to develop material faster than the traditional way. The issue is that the ramification, while there is a lot of, does not conform to what must people "like" or are used to. From this point, it will take time to sort that ramification out. While in the traditional way, you will pretty much set the ramification where you want it under development and then refine it.
 
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LOL. Like bonsai generally, patience is required in fielding responses to bonsai questions as well. Reading comprehension isn't always the strong point here and folks like to answer whatever question they like, regardless if it was the actual question asked. On the flip side, us noobs tend to come in with the same questions that have been asked and answered here many times before. The references from AdairM are actually quite helpful.
I appreciate that. Yes, references Adair quoted are excellent threads.
At the risk of stepping in it, I'll say this. I have only used a hedge type method when I already have a basic structure of the canopy and want to increase branch ramification. I don't have the skills, confidence or quantity of trees WP does, so I have never taken the big sheers to any of my trees and work much more slowly even if I am using a hedge method. Most of my trees are in an earlier stage of development and I will just let everything grow until I get the thickness and branching I want and then cut back - more of a cut and grow method. Even when using a hedge method, I have to be careful that I am actually forming a miniature tree and not a small hedge - I don't want my maple trees looking like a Home Depot spruce.

I know folks say they use the hedge method on developing trees, but perhaps the question to be asked is what stage of development are the trees in? If you look at the WP trees on this site, you will see they all begin as excellent specimens and he endeavors to make them even better. In short, he is using the hedge method on trees that already have a developed canopy and need further ramification.

I am a big proponent of the general hypothetical bonsai questions as a learning tool, but perhaps if you had a specific tree in mind you could share that for some more targeted advice.
This is exactly what I was looking for thank you. Most of my trees are in the earlier stages of development, so for discussions sake, let's say Maples in general. JM, Amur, Hedge and Red.
 

sorce

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nevermind

Don't let rude folks get you down! 😊

Plenty of us understand new discussions generate new ideas and knowledge.

Reckon that's what a forum is fer!

Application of any "method" is determined by a couple things for me...

One...
The sliding scale from an alternate elm that will bud anywhere, to something like a Hinoki Cypress that you'll have trouble compacting.

Two...
Wound size and how it will incorporate into design.

Three...
These trees that have what I call SGH shitty growth habit. I reckon any tree can have it genetically. I've identified it in Elm, Ficus, and Maple.
If you mindlessly hedge an SGH tree, you may as well burn it.
I don't find them useful at all, but they will prove useless if hedged mindlessly.

It's also right important to remember that any tree of a small stature will grow exactly the opposite of how we want it to.
Large thick top, thin useless bottom.
Controlling this will vary tree to tree but it always must be controlled.

The difficulty being, more apical cuts means more ramification up top, which also must be minimized. Yearly apex restarts isn't a bad idea.

#whycoldshoulderawarmcanuck?

Sorce
 

LanceMac10

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This again? Rafael had a thread and an video where he “explained” the Walter Pall hedgepruning method, and it generated hundreds of posts.

And if your really want to hear what everyone says about the WP hedge pruning, find that old thread by Rafael. Let’s not open that can of worms again…

If by "explain" you mean, "there's a guy named Walter and he does something he calls hedge-pruning", then sure, tune in. 😄 😄 😄 😄 😄 😄


If anything, it looks like a technique of some use if your trying to "rebuild" the top third of a tree.

Trying to grow out a deciduous tree? Just let it grow, knowing you can restart some branches fairly easy after your trunk has reached a satisfactory caliper.
 

Shibui

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Fast development depends on lots of growth. The more growth above any particular spot on a tree the thicker it will become.
Any pruning, including hedge pruning, will remove growth which will reduce thickening.
Fastest thickening will be gained by not pruning at all until the end but that almost always yields a thick stump that then takes many more years to convert to anything half decent.
However bonsai is not always about quickest. You can get quick thickening but very poor potential for bonsai. You can take longer to develop your tree and get great potential for bonsai or anything in between.
I've tried many different approaches and have settled on a medium approach. trees are allowed to grow for 1-3 years depending on rates of growth, species, etc then pruned then grown again in a cycle until the trunk looks right. Then comes the even longer ramification stages.

Hedge pruning is quick but not targeted. It needs to be followed up with more meticulous pruning for direction and to eliminate long internodes, crossing branches, etc. It is a strategy to maintain trees that are not quite at full potential when I'm short of time. Hedge pruning will definitely slow thickening and most development so I don't think it is suited to early development and growth but may be of limited use in promoting ramification. Much more use in the final stages but, even then, more suitable strategies when you want to progress faster.
 

Bonsai Nut

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In answer to the original question... it depends on the stage of your tree. It is not something you would use if the tree was early in development, but if the tree was already refined, and you had a clean outline to work with, cutting back to that outline quickly (as a maintenance strategy) saves time and will continue to generate ramification and balance strength. I find that I tend to go this route if I have a tree that is throwing a lot of leggy, unbalanced growth. However it is usually something that I might do once a season before the tree starts getting away from me - the foliage pads start to get messy and the growth becomes cluttered. Then you need to wade in and do a more thorough job.
 

ShadyStump

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LOL. Like bonsai generally, patience is required in fielding responses to bonsai questions as well. Reading comprehension isn't always the strong point here and folks like to answer whatever question they like, regardless if it was the actual question asked. On the flip side, us noobs tend to come in with the same questions that have been asked and answered here many times before. The references from AdairM are actually quite helpful.
People also forget that part of being new is not knowing what questions to ask, or how to ask them. That's step one in learning.
If we knew what we didn't know, then we'd know what we don't know and wouldn't ask.

No comment on the actual topic. Still learning this stuff myself.
 
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In answer to the original question... it depends on the stage of your tree. It is not something you would use if the tree was early in development, but if the tree was already refined, and you had a clean outline to work with, cutting back to that outline quickly (as a maintenance strategy) saves time and will continue to generate ramification and balance strength. I find that I tend to go this route if I have a tree that is throwing a lot of leggy, unbalanced growth. However it is usually something that I might do once a season before the tree starts getting away from me - the foliage pads start to get messy and the growth becomes cluttered. Then you need to wade in and do a more thorough job.

Unless it's junipers evidently, I read a great couple threads from 2015 about refined juniper pruning 😅😅 this place was spicy a few years back
 

Bonsai Nut

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Unless it's junipers evidently, I read a great couple threads from 2015 about refined juniper pruning 😅😅 this place was spicy a few years back
Yes I am talking specifically about deciduous, broadleaf evergreens, and some tropicals. Conifers are a different matter.

Definitely NOT junipers :)
 

dbonsaiw

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I don't have any trees just yet that I want to show off, but this recent purchase may be a decent illustration of the answers presented here. It's a Seiju Elm that was basically grown for bonsai "tourists" - no attention was actually paid to building the canopy. Rather, it was just hedge pruned and lower branches cut off from time to time (causing reversing taper, but that's another issue). And the result was an elm hedge, not the bonsai I want to develop. Wire was used to open the canopy up and then I went to work (the tree has a good deal more wire on it now and I need an updated pic). Major issues of crossing branches and branches growing from odd places could only be fixed so much with wire and these had to be removed. With the canopy opened up and a fair amount of branches removed, you can see that there are bald spots in my canopy that need to be fixed. Branches will need to be grown out over the next few years to fill them in.

Thinking about it, I am probably using 3 approaches at the same time: (i) I am using the hedge cut method to keep a basic general form and to prevent this tree from just growing wild, as I like the size as is; (ii) I am growing out certain branches to fill in my bald spots and replace all the poorly placed branches I pruned off - these cannot be hedge pruned as I need additional thickness and so these are indeed allowed to grow wild. As they increase in length, they are guy-wired into the positions I want them in; and (iii) I am keeping an eye out on certain portions of the canopy to ensure that light can get into the inner portions to fuel the growth of smaller branches that would otherwise be shaded out. This requires me to do more than hedge pruning in certain spots.
 

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