Does pruning only the very tips of Ume, cause better flowering on entire branch to tip?

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Shohin
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I saw a video recently, of a Japanese Ume gardener (prunus mume, for search ref.) tipping/clipping only the very very tips of the long branches of the Ume (the long branches that were kept or unpruned anyways)... like cutting off only 0.5-1" from the longer/lankier branches (not the short fruiting-wood), maybe 1-2 nodes at most. This is while dormant and no leaves.

Translator CC is always messy; but I understood it as - clipping only the very tips causes very slight stress to the branch, and wakes it up and sends more energy to those flower buds at the end of the branch (where they normally bloom closer to the trunk or lower 1/3 of branch).

I've only had my in-ground garden ume for 3 years; but, I did notice, every year, the longer/lankier branches (not the shorter fruitwood, which always bloom) usually only flower closer to the base, leaving the tips and outer of branches with no flowers. So, what the Japan gardener said in the video made sense to me.

My ume is just starting to bloom now. Lots of early blooming buds; but the leaves haven't completely fallen off yet. So, last weekend, I manually stripped all the leaves off (easy, since they were about to fall), and at the same time, "tipped" 1-2 nodes off every long branch (just 0.5-1" clipped off).

I manually stripped off the leaves last year too (because easier than cleaning off ground). I guess they drop them late here in SoCal.
But, I was actually planning to let my Ume drop its' leaves naturally this year. However, since I noticed it's starting to bloom already, I had no choice - I def didn't want those ugly spent leaves hiding the beautiful flowers we've been waiting a year for.


Anyways... so, is that true? ...does clipping only the very tips of the longer/lanky branches (non fruit wood), about 0.5-1", cause the Ume to bloom throughout the entire branch all the way to the tip? (instead of just blooming at the very base, or only on lower 1/3-1/2 of branch).

I'm not taking about the shorter, 1-4" fruiting wood, since those are a given and always guaranteed to bloom. I'm talking about the longer sprouts, growth-wood, the ones that are usually 4-6' per year.
 

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I don't understand. You've done this, provided no pictures, and are asking others if this works. ?
 

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I don't understand. You've done this, provided no pictures, and are asking others if this works. ?
"I don't understand."
...it was a "question" ...asking if tipping works to promote flowering to the entire branch and to the tip.

"You've done this,"
...I've never done this before (only started/did it a few days ago... and will take some time to see if it works, if at all... as with most horticultural related things) ...hence, why I asked the question.

"provided no pictures"
...Idk if a picture is that necessary. It is easy to visualize cutting off 1/2-1" off the tip of an Ume branch.

"and are asking others if this works. ?"
...yes, because I have never done this before and do not know if this really works or not.
 
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I saw a video recently, of a Japanese Ume gardener

Please share the link to the video

As summarized here, the idea sounds off for a number of reasons. Instead of going into detail based on your interpretation, i’d like to see the video myself
 

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I'll try to find it... but it might be hard... as they're all titled in Japanese and I've watched countless of different ones that all looks the same (title and video thumbnail wise).

But it seemed legitimate... professional Japanese gardeners, farmers or videos made for horticultural organizations/societies of Japan.
 

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Checked my Ume just now and noticed one of the branches I tipped (just 2 days ago on Saturday) is following the theory in my OP.

I’m surprised. I’ve never seen it bloom at the tip before, or have a tip bloom stronger than the base/lower part.
It always usually flowers closer to the base/lower part of branches in the past years.
 

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Forsoothe!

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I tip my Prunus incisa 'Kojo no mai' every year at the end of flowering as I remove remaining spent and fertilized blooms. It remains ~static~ for lack of a better term. Interior growth is limited by the amount of light that falls in the interior. If you have a nice crop of leaves further out blocking light to the interior, you won't get much growing in there. I don't find it any different from any other tree. I don't know if that answers the question. Maybe the tree you are talking about is big enough to have a separate exterior and an interior, unlike mine where the "interior" is not really far enough away from the tips to be non-blooming territory?

Maybe, this is a process as it is applied to a tree that is not already being maintained as a mature tree that is just fine the way it is. ? My tree is not big enough to have the kind of distinct space in-between clouds/layers to be a formal upright. It is just, ~upright~.
CC 1 20160422_.jpg
 

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Beautiful tree!

I think you are misunderstanding a little... my(everyones?) usual "non-blooming territory" is actually the very opposite of what you've described - the non-blooming being the exterior and very tips (and the natural blooming areas usually always in the interior of longer lanky sprouts (and the shorter fruitwood branches of course)... I think this is common for prunus mume from many pics I've seen... correct me if I'm wrong).

But, yeah, I already know about the more common deadheading/tipping procedure post-bloom (since those take up energy making seeds). That's why I asked about tipping pre-bloom... I've never heard of it before, so it intrigued me quite a bit.
 

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Beautiful tree!

I think you are misunderstanding a little... my(everyones?) usual "non-blooming territory" is actually the very opposite of what you've described - the non-blooming being the exterior and very tips (and the natural blooming areas usually always in the interior of longer lanky sprouts (and the shorter fruitwood branches of course)... I think this is common for prunus mume from many pics I've seen... correct me if I'm wrong).

But, yeah, I already know about the more common deadheading/tipping procedure post-bloom (since those take up energy making seeds). That's why I asked about tipping pre-bloom... I've never heard of it before, so it intrigued me quite a bit.
OK, I've never trimmed at any time other than at the end of blooming, so I'll just listen from here on out. I don't get any long, lanky growth anywhere. Maybe because of the way I habitually trim.
 

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Imagine an Ume tree having countless new wood from the growing season, all 6' long sprouts (which is common for Ume).

Each of those 6' long sprouts, only the inner 1/3-1/2 of the branch will flower; but the rest to the tip and outer branch will not flower... even if the outer/tip of the branch has many flower buds.

From what I am understanding from the theory, is that all the energy pre-bloom (in dormancy) goes to those inner branch buds area, leaving the outer/tip buds with nothing.
So, giving a little "stress" by tipping 1/2-1" of the branch pre-bloom wakes it up and sends energy to the forgotten tips/outer branch also. Make sense?
 

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Found it...

Perhaps I mis-understood the translation... and maybe his "tipping" shown in the video is really prepping the new branch to become a better branch with more fruiting-wood in a years time or in the future (instead of my assumed theory in my OP).

Also, I noticed he mentioned cutting too much off (in half for example) would just result in vigorous growth yet again... and, by doing this light-tipping instead, would encourage fruit-wood (instead of vigorous growth).

Screen Shot 2021-01-11 at 5.53.10 PM.png
 

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That sounds like the standard tipping forces auxins to interior buds routine.
 

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That sounds like the standard tipping forces auxins to interior buds routine.
Yeah... I know that commonly-taught bonsai knowledge too.

But, maybe it has opposite effect for Ume and blooms... because flower energy naturally goes to the interior of branch instead of tips (the video states it too as, blooms go to “center” of the tree).
 

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Here are some pics to describe what I am talking about (random pics from Google)...

Notice how the blooms are always strongest on the lowest/base section of the new long branches (or more “center” of tree)... while the tips/outer parts of branches are much weaker (or sometimes the buds won’t even bloom).

It’s like the flower energy “fades” the further it is away from the trunk. Like it gets weaker and weaker, after the strongest flower that is first from the trunk.

I’m sure others with Ume have noticed this too (I sure have... every year).
And I think it’s what that Japanese video is describing and remedying.
 

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leatherback

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Evidently my variety is not as close to yours as I thought.
Yours is a different species altogether, it is a prunus incisa kojonomai, if I am not completely mistaken. The OP is talking about mume which are A LOT trickier to keep flowering and growing where you want to.

does clipping only the very tips of the longer/lanky branches (non fruit wood), about 0.5-1", cause the Ume to bloom throughout the entire branch all the way to the tip?
I do not know. There might be a difference between bonsai and full grown trees too of course. Mume in the field will toss our several feet of branching. And if you are growing for fruit on trees on the ground you might have different practices than growing as bonsai.

I have picked up some ideas from @Brian Van Fleet and @fredtruck over the years. Maybe they are able to shed some light / add some experience, ?
 

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