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

Adair M

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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.
Rafael created a thread with a video attached, and the title to the video and thread were something along the lines of “Walter Pall’s Hedge pruning method explained”. LOL… he actually did a poor job of explaining and trying to mimic what Walter does. Walter even came in and said that what Rafael did in the video was NOT what his method is!

But, the post generated a LOT of discussion on the Pros and Cons of the WP Hedging method. It even inspired Bjorn to make a video about it!

I reference the thread because the OP asked for the Pros and Cons, and they are discussed at great length in Rafael’s thread.
 

Maiden69

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Rafael created a thread with a video attached, and the title to the video and thread were something along the lines of “Walter Pall’s Hedge pruning method explained”. LOL… he actually did a poor job of explaining and trying to mimic what Walter does. Walter even came in and said that what Rafael did in the video was NOT what his method is!
I remember that thread as well as the one he created in Mirai... he definitely didn't do the same technique as WP.

Here is Walters explanation.
 

dbonsaiw

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Here is Walters explanation.
As good an explanation as we will get.

As an aside, I'm trying to remove the word "faster" from my bonsai lexicon. There is sound bonsai practice and there are things we do that slow development down. Absent a time machine, however, there is no faster. In fact, every attempt to develop faster has led to me slowing things down or destroying the tree outright. Instead of going faster, I'm trying not to slow things down.
 

Adair M

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As good an explanation as we will get.

As an aside, I'm trying to remove the word "faster" from my bonsai lexicon. There is sound bonsai practice and there are things we do that slow development down. Absent a time machine, however, there is no faster. In fact, every attempt to develop faster has led to me slowing things down or destroying the tree outright. Instead of going faster, I'm trying not to slow things down.
Alas, any attempt to go faster results in a loss of quality. I wish it weren’t so. And with deciduous trees in particular. My Zelkova:

7A0FB9BB-1691-4737-A74E-A0908DBA7D07.jpeg

Looks the way it does because it was NOT “grown fast”. It’s 100 years old. It was shown in Kokufu in 1954, and has gotten better since then. I might add that to my knowledge, it has never been ‘hedged’. It does grow out, and get cut back, ironically in a similar manner to what Raphael demonstrated! (I don’t let it get that far before pruning, but the concept is about the same. Remember, what Raphael did was NOT the Walter Pall hedging method!)

Here’s a pic without leaves:

B551ED3F-0A1C-4D1A-B443-909366D3E4B1.jpegB551ED3F-0A1C-4D1A-B443-909366D3E4B1.jpeg
 

Adam D

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Alas, any attempt to go faster results in a loss of quality. I wish it weren’t so. And with deciduous trees in particular. My Zelkova:

View attachment 442329

Looks the way it does because it was NOT “grown fast”. It’s 100 years old. It was shown in Kokufu in 1954, and has gotten better since then. I might add that to my knowledge, it has never been ‘hedged’. It does grow out, and get cut back, ironically in a similar manner to what Raphael demonstrated! (I don’t let it get that far before pruning, but the concept is about the same. Remember, what Raphael did was NOT the Walter Pall hedging method!)

Here’s a pic without leaves:

View attachment 442332View attachment 442332
Agreed. Deciduous is a long game. Haphazardly hacking a tree back to the previous seasons silhouette seems like lazy technique to me, and produces an aesthetic that I don’t find attractive on deciduous. Particularly on Japanese maples.

Fantastic tree by the way! One of the best Zelkova I have seen
 
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Alas, any attempt to go faster results in a loss of quality. I wish it weren’t so. And with deciduous trees in particular. My Zelkova:

View attachment 442329

Looks the way it does because it was NOT “grown fast”. It’s 100 years old. It was shown in Kokufu in 1954, and has gotten better since then. I might add that to my knowledge, it has never been ‘hedged’. It does grow out, and get cut back, ironically in a similar manner to what Raphael demonstrated! (I don’t let it get that far before pruning, but the concept is about the same. Remember, what Raphael did was NOT the Walter Pall hedging method!)

Here’s a pic without leaves:

View attachment 442332View attachment 442332
Do you have any plans for the reverse taper that is developing?…

… of course, I am kidding. That is an absolutely stunning winter silhouette. More than a silhouette, with the depth of detail.

out of curiosity, do you think that the genetics of the tree are special.. I.e would a cutting from this hornbeam be any more suitable for bonsai than general stock? Or, it it the time/quality in training that is more responsible for the dramatic effect,
 

LanceMac10

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I remember that thread as well as the one he created in Mirai... he definitely didn't do the same technique as WP.

Here is Walters explanation.


I'd say "thanks for posting the ACTUAL explanation, though I don't think anyone read it! :) :) :) :)

Wally is becoming the most mis-quoted bonsai practitioner these days.
 

Adam D

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I'd say "thanks for posting the ACTUAL explanation, though I don't think anyone read it! :) :) :) :)

Wally is becoming the most mis-quoted bonsai practitioner these days.
“the tree is then cut back with big sheers to its previous silhouette. It is irrelevant where exactly it is being cut, or if any leaves are cut.”
 

Maiden69

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Wally is becoming the most mis-quoted bonsai practitioner these days.
Thanks, I saved that link a while ago. It's funny how many people dis the technique when they don't even know what it entails. Before joining Mirai and here I signed up for a few Bonsai Empire classes. In one of them WP explains this technique on one if the maples he posted here in BNut. Here is a short clip from that class available in YouTube.


I think the main issue is that people can't stop to admire what he does the moment he says hedge pruning. But if you look at his trees, they are not that far from being showable, and this is something he expresses about the technique. I also think that most people that get into bonsai are in for instant gratification, and the main reason is that they see old videos of Ryan, videos of Mauro, Kimura, etc. taking a raw collected tree and making it a masterpiece in a matter of hours. This takes away from developing a tree, which is what WP is trying to achieve with expanding the ramification as quickly as possible. I don't know if you have Mirai but lately Ryan has been dealing with a lot of deciduous trees, and states that he regrets not doing so earlier because of Kimura's influence. He explains how time consuming it is.

One of my recent finds as far as quickly developing trees is @MACH5. I have seen videos and tutorials in the last 3 years doing this and I haven't seen anyone develop deciduous trees as fast as Sergio does. It's mind boggling, and I'm sure he either has a blessing for this, or a tree/forest nymph hidden in his backyard. Hopefully one day Ryan will bring him in for one of the live feeds, would love to see his answers to a lot of the questions asked. I loved the Peter Warren Azalea videos.

I guess I went out of topic for a little bit, I just felt like it needed to be added...
 

Maiden69

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“the tree is then cut back with big sheers to its previous silhouette. It is irrelevant where exactly it is being cut, or if any leaves are cut.”
Once again, you are talking without reading (or comprehending/understanding), or seeing any of the Walter Paul videos. Even Ryan Neil comments that there is nothing wrong with WP technique. That it accomplishes exactly what he say it does, just that it is not the traditional (Japanese) way, yet Ryan himself doesn't do the traditional way anymore.

I don't even know why would WP reputation be what it is since his hedge pruning is so awful. I mean, I'm sure your trees are 10 times better than his right?

Also, you can not compare a 100 year old Japanese built and grown bonsai with WP's trees... the trees WP have, while old trees because they are mostly collected, have incredible ramification for the amount of time that he has been developing them. You can see this in any of the tree threads that he posts here. Now lets see those trees with another 80 years of treatment and see where they stand.
 

Adam D

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Once again, you are talking without reading (or comprehending/understanding), or seeing any of the Walter Paul videos. Even Ryan Neil comments that there is nothing wrong with WP technique. That it accomplishes exactly what he say it does, just that it is not the traditional (Japanese) way, yet Ryan himself doesn't do the traditional way anymore.

I don't even know why would WP reputation be what it is since his hedge pruning is so awful. I mean, I'm sure your trees are 10 times better than his right?

Also, you can not compare a 100 year old Japanese built and grown bonsai with WP's trees... the trees WP have, while old trees because they are mostly collected, have incredible ramification for the amount of time that he has been developing them. You can see this in any of the tree threads that he posts here. Now lets see those trees with another 80 years of treatment and see where they stand.
lol I literally responded to the comment about people misquoting WP. That is a verbatim quote from the article about haphazardly hacking back trees, which is also depicted in the above video.

If you want to hedge prune your trees, by all means do it. I'm just stating that to me it seems like lazy technique and produces an aesthetic that I don't appreciate but if you like it then go for it.

I would also argue that pinching and the actual reason for pinching is more misquoted than hedge pruning.

I agree hedge pruning does produce more ramification faster than pinching, but at want cost? I see a lot of taper-less and chunky branches with tufts of ramification at the end.
 

Maiden69

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I agree hedge pruning does produce more ramification faster than pinching, but at want cost? I see a lot of taper-less and chunky branches with tufts of ramification at the end.
The point is to accelerate ramification. You then deal with the branches. Branches get thicker on trees that get pinched as well, yes pinching is only recommended for trees in refinement/showing conditions, not for trees in development. I'm going to try hedge pruning on my liquidambar orientalis this year. I did prune a few long branches last week and I can already see a lot of bud break in them. This is the first year the tree is actually growing, so I guess it will be a good candidate.
 

LanceMac10

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Cherry-picking a statement without context to prove your point? It's the American way!!! 😄 😄 😄 😄 😄

I think we can agree that the scope of this technique's application is fairly narrow. ;);)

At the end of the day, Walts forgotten more about bonsai than I'll ever know. But we do get to file away what he's shared. And that's another tool for the toolbox. More tools mean more control.🤔
 

Adam D

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Cherry-picking a statement without context to prove your point? It's the American way!!! 😄 😄 😄 😄 😄

I think we can agree that the scope of this technique's application is fairly narrow. ;);)

At the end of the day, Walts forgotten more about bonsai than I'll ever know. But we do get to file away what he's shared. And that's another tool for the toolbox. More tools mean more control.🤔
I'm not sure what the missing context is? The technique is literally hacking away at your bonsai like a hedge. He even says so in the video.
 

Adair M

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Once again, you are talking without reading (or comprehending/understanding), or seeing any of the Walter Paul videos. Even Ryan Neil comments that there is nothing wrong with WP technique. That it accomplishes exactly what he say it does, just that it is not the traditional (Japanese) way, yet Ryan himself doesn't do the traditional way anymore.

I don't even know why would WP reputation be what it is since his hedge pruning is so awful. I mean, I'm sure your trees are 10 times better than his right?

Also, you can not compare a 100 year old Japanese built and grown bonsai with WP's trees... the trees WP have, while old trees because they are mostly collected, have incredible ramification for the amount of time that he has been developing them. You can see this in any of the tree threads that he posts here. Now lets see those trees with another 80 years of treatment and see where they stand.
Walter has a few nice Japanese Zelkova trees. He’s posted threads of them here on B’Nut. I believe he purchased them in Japan, so the bones were developed there.
 

Maiden69

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I knew I heard him explain it better but didn't remember where... I found the video today browsing YouTube.
 

Adam D

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I agree with many of the things he mentions in the video, but hedge pruning is not one of those things.
 

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