How much pruning can Hinoki Cypress withstand?

stoverock

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I finally got my hands on a hinoki cypress and did some moderate pruning to it to open up the pads and trunk. I left quite a lot of foliage to help it recover, but I’d like to remove more. Can I come back to it a few weeks after initial pruning and take off another 10-15%? I’m in California zone 9b. Pics of the tree and final goal attached. E44A7A6F-1018-4444-8CE1-D016F304D063.jpeg73C9E480-5318-4A92-A990-07E7C58CF2C3.jpeg158B2908-B606-4D93-BDEF-1DA095595558.jpeg
 

sorce

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I have no idea why that happens when I post photos -_-

Are you a lefty? I think holding the phone "upside down" for pano shots makes em this way.

Sorce
 

bwaynef

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Its really anybody's best guess as to whether what you've drawn is actually achievable. The pictures don't really show the trunk of the tree. I'd caution, from the drawing, about using branches opposite others. It definitely doesn't look like you've removed too much foliage. Could stand a little wire.
 

BobbyLane

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yes its a nice sketch but thats it. the images youve shared just appear to be a bush
 

Kanorin

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I also picked up a nursery hinoki this fall and took about 20% of the foliage off. I'm going to be conservative with mine and not do any more this fall, but I'm curious what others have to say. Peter warren has a good video about hinoki pruning, but his video is from late spring/early summer.

Regarding the side-ways pictures: when I post straight from my iphone to Bnut, mine come out this way too - no matter what angle I initially take the photo at. But when I email them to myself and then post them, they turn up just fine. 🤷‍♂️

I'd also love to see some pictures where we can see more of the trunk line. Use one hand or a helper to move some of those forefront branches to the side temporarily while you take the picture.
 

Forsoothe!

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Whenever trimming anything to Day One, it has to go far enough back to be a starting point for what follows, or you're wasting time. Reducing foliage reduces the amount of growth that will follow, and if you are done enlarging the plant that's fine. Leaving a sacrifice branch is fine, too. Leaving extra foliage because you need time to mull over a next step is a proper process, too. But it grows from where you leave it so trimming just some of it and waiting to do the rest next year slows growth and doesn't get you to a solid starting point of a design. Which is it?
 

stoverock

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Whenever trimming anything to Day One, it has to go far enough back to be a starting point for what follows, or you're wasting time. Reducing foliage reduces the amount of growth that will follow, and if you are done enlarging the plant that's fine. Leaving a sacrifice branch is fine, too. Leaving extra foliage because you need time to mull over a next step is a proper process, too. But it grows from where you leave it so trimming just some of it and waiting to do the rest next year slows growth and doesn't get you to a solid starting point of a design. Which is it?
I think this one is large enough and I don’t want the branches getting any longer. So should I go ahead and trim those last few branches that I don’t want? I’ve used a sheet of paper to cover up the branches I don’t want and show the trunk a little better. The top would be cleared up a bit and the branches wired more downward.4E3B268E-A48B-4FD0-BACD-D035C97E223F.jpegC5BCC8E6-2F65-4DE4-9E8B-EB8308213912.jpeg
 

Forsoothe!

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You may want to edit the number of major branches you have to comport with the basic rules of bonsai: 1. find the front, the best view, and put a marker there to remind you that whatever trimming you do accentuates the front, even at the expense of not enhancing the view from the rear or any other view. The front is some combination of features including the best view of the nebari; the trunk movement; the relative location of the first three branches to provide a welcoming, open view to the whole tree, and a full rear/back of the tree that provides a sense of depth as viewed through the front. This especially includes eliminating bar branches. Many, and maybe most species' natural habit is to grow branches from internodes with long un-branched sections in-between internodes like wagon wheels. Each branch grows the trunk from the point of connection and lower. When bar branches (a pair of branches growing on opposite sides) are allowed to grow, the trunk develops a fat section at that internode. That is unattractive and contributes to reverse taper. Only one branch should be allowed to grow at each internode.
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The sooner that happens, the better. You can see that you have a major decision to make at #2 with a bar and 3 growing too close together, and have clusters of branches at #1, #3, and #4. Ideally on a tree, branch #1 largest and is at the lower left, #2 is slightly higher at right side, and #3 is higher and straight out from the rear, with all the rest following that spiral staircase up the tree, each branch about rotated 150° so it is not immediately on top of a branch below it, thinner and shorter than the one before it. Trees don't grow that way by themselves and that's where you come in. You and wire and guy lines. It's never easy, and that's why we admire really nice trees when we see them. We can appreciate just how much skill and tenacity it takes to create The Perfect Tree.

Making choices of what stays and what gets cut off is difficult. If you can't make the decision, wire everything and see which branches can be moved into better positions and which are less useful and are to be eliminated.

The foregoing is intended to get you thinking about what the outcome is going to be before you actually make irreversible cuts. The spiral staircase is just one of many arrays of branches. Others may suggest different arrangements.
 

leatherback

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Keep in mind, this species rarely throws backbuds. So you have to work with the green that is there. So you need to clean out the inside as little as possible, and work from the outside inwards when styling.
 

Mike Corazzi

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Keep in mind, this species rarely throws backbuds. So you have to work with the green that is there. So you need to clean out the inside as little as possible, and work from the outside inwards when styling.
While ignoring the Hinoki tendency to fishbone branch setting.
I don't have the dilemma because they don't like the HEAT here.
 

Vance Wood

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Probably be OK depending on where and how much. Never cut back to bare wood. Always leave as much as you remove and keep it balanced, in other words 50% is good.
 
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