European Beach chop location

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Hi

This is a European Beech I got from a nursery in 2007. It has been full throttle time for it to gain girth in a fairly large grow out box. I just cut off the upper 9 feet of tree and wired up the new extension which should be the at 1/3rd the height of the finished tree. I am going for a sprawling oak style or maybe an more upright version of the same.

However, something bothers me every time I walk by this tree. It seems to high and to far in to an uninteresting trunk section, almost a stovepipe. I was thinking I would have a little more height and main branch scaffolding in the final design however, now that I look at it I almost think it would be better chopping it down at the red lines in the pictures.

The first picture is the front and I have drawn the options 1, 1a and 2 in red lines where the cut would go. Cut #1 would be at a new extension with two perfect left and right buds as seen from the front. Cut #1a would leave the back branch as the new leader and could be wired vertical. Cut #2 would be at the current 2nd branch with a fairly steep angle of attachment. This latter cut would really be going for the full sprawling oak style for the tree. This is something which I am not all that adverse to.

The lower branches that have not been cut back are sacrafice branches.

I hope the pictures are clear enough, I could not find a sutable backround and my back is killing me today.

What would you guys do?

- I guess I spelled beech wrong but I am unable to edit the title, oh well.
 

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Smoke

Ignore-Amus
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Now it just needs time. Thats the hard part......
 

Si Nguyen

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Hi F.M.Marc, I see a more conventional umbrella style beech tree for this beech. It is good material for it already. Most of the branches are there already. You are lucky; it is not easy to find such good material to chop down to start this formal beech broom style. With a straight trunk like this, an oak tree style would not be convincing. With an umbrella style, the final height of the tree would be almost perfect for this trunk diameter too. I'd chop it at about 1a for now, then carve it down further later, after the top branches are set. Here's how I see it.

Another thing, at least have some idea of how the nebari spread out now before you work on the top. You don't want to spend years developing a good side for the branches then discover later that the nebari is better in the back.
Anyway, good luck with it.
Si
 

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Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
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Several bar-branches may be distracting you...at some point you'll want to eliminate them in favor of alternating. Hopefully the trunk chop will encourage some budding back at the trunk and provide additional options.

Then, you'll need to reduce the chop so it has some taper; try to plan it toward the back...it will take some time to close.

Here's an article on a J. Beech I've been working on for several years; you may find it useful:
http://www.nebaribonsai.com/Nebari_Bonsai_112109/Projects_files/Japanese Beech sm.pdf

Enjoy! Beech are cool trees.
 

tom tynan

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I would not cut the trunk any lower right now. Beech will die back some - so from the existing point where you chopped the tree you may eventually have to carve back another 1/2" to 3/4" inch. The lower branches have really grown and though it is hard to tell from the photo how wide they are - you should continue to let them grow - you may want to wire those lower branches just to get some movement. The problem as I see it is that the top has not taken off with growth - and that is what you need to build the crown as well as healing that chop scar. You need the top leader to extend 3 to 5 feet to really get a good transition from the chop point to the new leader. It will take awhile to get that new leader to grow and thicken and that is what you need to build the upper part of the tree. Is this tree in the best location in your garden area - meaning early sun and then some afternoon shade? Good luck with this beech...Tom

ps. The line you have marked as #1 - there is a small branch growing there - that should be your new leader - it has to be slightly below the cut line. That leader needs to grow until it is 1/2 or 3/4 the size of the main trunk - so do not trim back the upper branches either, esp. the designated top leader.
 
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Thanks for the responses.

ps. The line you have marked as #1 - there is a small branch growing there - that should be your new leader - it has to be slightly below the cut line. That leader needs to grow until it is 1/2 or 3/4 the size of the main trunk - so do not trim back the upper branches either, esp. the designated top leader.
I have wired up the new leader and it has 5 little radiating buds going in all directions. The next lower potential chop points also have very good new leader potential. My problem is that I have a bad habbit of chopping to high and If my gut tells me it is to high I usually verify that after the next season.:D

This tree had some very good lower twigs when I bought it and I ground layered a new nebari this last season where there was some nasty reverse taper just above the soil line. The roots took and grew like bananas and the roots and flare just out of view beneith the soil line surpased all my expectations. The front in pic one has been planned for a long time now based on potential new rootage I was sucessfull in growing there. The first left and right branching are good and I know I need to get rid of that right angled bar branch.


Hi F.M.Marc, I see a more conventional umbrella style beech tree for this beech. It is good material for it already. Most of the branches are there already. You are lucky; it is not easy to find such good material to chop down to start this formal beech broom style. With a straight trunk like this, an oak tree style would not be convincing. With an umbrella style, the final height of the tree would be almost perfect for this trunk diameter too. I'd chop it at about 1a for now, then carve it down further later, after the top branches are set. Here's how I see it.
Thanks for taking the time to draw that. I think given enough time, like 10 years, I could make a convincing oak style. I have seen some pretty neat oak style beech from Japan. Problem that always happens with me is I cannot decide. If I left the trunk as is I think what you suggested except more informal and taller would work great. I would like this tree to get larger and have a finished height of 12-18 inches. In order for this to happen I plan on growing those low down sacarafices out for a while, then turn them in to hollows. The trunk as it is now is 2.5 inches, so it will have to grow another 1/2 inch for the 18 height. You are right however about the fact that the trunk is to strait for oak so that is why I cannot decide if I want to go that route and take her down to #2. If I do that, I will be commited to oak.

So oak or something taller? Wider than tall or taller than wide? Fortunately at the rate these things grow I have a season or two to make a decision.

And Brian, that was a very informative article you wrote, thanks.
 
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