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mo's bonsai

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Hello buddies,

I am kind of lost in this forum becouse I am new here and I don't know if I am posting this in the right area subject but this is the only area i was able to find a new post link.
My question is concerning a box wood tree. Can I prune all the leaves off and if so, is spring the best time? Thanks.

Mo
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Boxwood will take hard pruning, but I don't think I'd take quite everything off, leave a little something on each branch to "ask" for nutrients. I have always had better luck hard-pruning the top of the tree and repotting it at the same time. Don't know why, but cutting the roots back encourages stronger top growth. Doing roots one year, and top the next keeps the tree growing slowly...and boxwood are already slow! Spring is best time, it should be flowering by now in TX, and just starting to push growth...if so, good time to start.
 

rockm

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The answer to your question depends on another question--

What are you trying to accomplish in defoliating the boxwood? Defoliation is an extremely stressful thing to do to any tree (and sometimes fatal for weaker trees and all needle evergreens). It's not something to do on a whim to get smaller leaves...

Hard pruning at the ends of branches is usually the best way to get interior branching on a boxwood. I've kept boxwood bonsai for over a decade and have never defoliated them.
 

grouper52

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I agree with the others here, Mo. No reason, and certainly some risk (depending on variety), to defoliate boxes.

Good luck with yours. They can be great trees.
 

irene_b

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Hi Mo and welcome to the addiction of Bonsai!!
Have you joined the San Antonio Bonsai Society yet?
Got a few of us from the club here at this forum...
Trim boxwoods in the early spring and just the ends (not to hard)...In our climate we have to treat them a little different...
Irene
 

mo's bonsai

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Thanks Brian, Rockm and Irene. I do see what you are talking about. There was no urgent reason to defoliate my boxwood other than to create a fuller branch system. But now that spring is nearing us here in texas, I can see new leaf growth emerging and I have decided to take your advice and not defoliate. Instead, I will observe the new growth and wire for results. If and when I do prune the leaves at the tips, can I prune during in the summer or should I wait until fall. Irene, Thanks for the welcome. I have wanted to join the San antonio Bonsai Society for a long time since 2006 but I work late on thursdays and I wouldn't be able to make the meatings. I do keep up with the Snips N Clips newsletter and log on to your web site regularly but for now with my busy schedule, that is all I can do. I do hope to join in the future. By the way, great web site and I so enjoy your newsletter, keep up the good work.

Mo
 

irene_b

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Mo post me a PM with you phone number and I will keep you updated on dates other than Thursdays when we have get together's.
Irene
 

jjbacoomba

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Hi Mo. Welcome to the forum. I too am a member of the San Antonio Bonsai Society and its new librarian. Hopefully you can make it out sometime. We are lucky to have experienced ,dedicated members like Irene. She has helped me alot in my 7 months of Bonsai. Looking forward to many years. Check us out on myspace. http://www.myspace.com/sanantoniobonsaisociety
 

rockm

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You will not induce branching by trimming leaves.

You induce backbudding and subsequent branching on a boxwood by hard pruning older branches. New buds are stimulated in boxwood mostly when woody tissue is pruned. Leaf pinching and pruning green stem growth will not produce much, if any, results.

Wiring boxwood is also mostly counterproductive not only for horticultural reasons, but for artistic reasons as well. The wood on a boxwood is denser and tougher than alot of other woods--branches and trunks taken from old boxwood are so dense they will not float in water. The wood is used to create tools and objects that will last hundreds of years without checking or warping. The density is due to the peculiar fibers in the wood--shorter and closer together than in most other woods.

All this makes bending boxwood a chore or a dangerous exercise for the tree. It takes alot of pressure to bend a largish branch, but very little to break it once bent to the maximum angle--that means you can very easily snap off a branch because so much pressure is needed to bend it...

There are some who argue that wiring is no problem. It might not be for smaller trees, but I've found it can result in snapped branches that take forever to grow back out.

I have found wiring is unnecessary and produces mostly mediocre results--producing smooth curves, where angular bends, achieved through clip and grow pruning, are more appropriate. Also, wired branches tend to want to constantly revert to their unbent shape, which means you're addicted to wire once you start...
 

mo's bonsai

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Hello JJBacoomba, thanks for the welcome. Congradulations on the librarian position with San Antonio Bonsai Society. I'm sure you will be great and be a positive influence in the club. Irene does sound very helpful. Sorry Irene, don't mean to talk about you but I'm so looking forward to joining you guys soon.
Thanks for the tips Rockm. You are right, I have mistakenly broken some barked branches while wiring and I learned my lesson with boxwood so now, I prune the thicker barked branches but I still wire the green branches so that they dont grow out like 2x4's. Nice to know the facts about Boxwood. I wish I had known the info about using box wood to make tools, a neighbor dug out some old and mature boxwood that would have made some great bonsai but by the time I found out three weeks had passed by and the trees were stacked up in her yard prety much dead. I could have made use of the 4-5 inch trunks these beauties had. I'll keep that in mind the next time an opertunity like that comes up.

Mo
 
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