Longevity of a compact branch: back buds and limits?

Yugen

Yamadori
Messages
99
Reaction score
72
Location
Victoria, British Columbia
USDA Zone
9A
I've come to a wall in my understanding of how, in the long run, to have a branch with compact foliage. By compact foliage I don't mean ramification, per say. I'm referring to having foliage on a branch that is closer to the trunk of the tree as opposed to growth near the tips of branches.

I understand the principal of ramification. Cut at back buds and reduce to two. Rinse and repeat.

This should apply to all my pines (maybe all trees in general?), but to hone in on my personal dilemma: I have a few older yamadori shore pines. Take one in particular that is approx. 100 year old. Its in good health and has been off the mountain and in a training pot for 5 years. It's lower branches are about ten inches long which display very healthy foliage at the tips of secondary and tertiary branches. There are back buds, but they are all clustered within a few centimetres to a couple inches of the growing areas.

From what I've researched it is likely to get back buds further back on the branch; however, I've been told to not expect back budding on wood that is over 6-ish years old. Well these primary and secondary branches could easily be 10+ years old. In any case, if I reduce foliage steadily, the back buds will only form so far away from the growing tip. And the longer this gradual process takes, the older the primary and secondary branches become. It seems like its a case of diminishing pace between the limit of aging branches and stubborn back budding.

I can guess that a centenarian pine might be a harder case, but this should apply to any pine branch that is 10 years and older, no?

Isn't it so that as a pine outgrows it's desired silhouette, that's when we cut off terminal growth and allow the back buds to take their place, right? But how can this process continue, for even a decade, as the primary and secondary branches age and "wood up"?

Additionally, has anyone ever heard of removing scaly bark as to allow cambium a shot at back budding?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
5,960
Location
Netherlands
I think this problem can be countered by grafting, and basically starting over. Bonsaichile was faster ;-)

I would try it on some cheap throwaway material first though. I had a very successful first try on junipers, the second attempt of mine is either 100% failure or 20% success. It takes practice and some skill, and good tools, and the right timing.
Grafts can take on all living tissue.
 

cmeg1

Masterpiece
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
5,201
Location
Southeast Pennsylvania USA
USDA Zone
6b
5:2 ratio fulvic acid powder/kelp powder.
Kelp supresses auxin from terminal shoot by way of additional instant access to cytokinins from the kelp.Fulvic acid is a low molecular humic substance that carries the kelp into the leaf cells and even stem cells in as little as 4 hours.
ONLY NO MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. Kelp burns leaves.
Suppresses plant genetic safty response to halt lower buds from extending until branch break and instead forces backbuds without losing terminal growth.
Some trees react more noticebly than others.
My zelkova have backbuds on 1” branches!
Does champ on pine seedling cuttings too....will burn if used more than once a week......if in daily fertilizer,the leaves need rinsed immediately.

Black humic acid is terrific leaf wash at about 50 ppm.
 

Attachments

  • D3AA7F67-5E4A-4A1B-A428-43816C57F60D.jpeg
    D3AA7F67-5E4A-4A1B-A428-43816C57F60D.jpeg
    213.2 KB · Views: 21
  • EE8433DC-29D9-494E-8CEB-64C42DA2530E.jpeg
    EE8433DC-29D9-494E-8CEB-64C42DA2530E.jpeg
    221.2 KB · Views: 26
  • D46A3DCB-6F60-47B9-8DC5-03AA2C2AB7DD.jpeg
    D46A3DCB-6F60-47B9-8DC5-03AA2C2AB7DD.jpeg
    179.4 KB · Views: 25
  • DFE3E039-4286-4063-B236-47005439C719.jpeg
    DFE3E039-4286-4063-B236-47005439C719.jpeg
    243.7 KB · Views: 28
  • 990433CE-30ED-4192-B85F-0C68539D0B09.jpeg
    990433CE-30ED-4192-B85F-0C68539D0B09.jpeg
    207.9 KB · Views: 28
  • EEA92BBA-AFC1-4787-8D7B-72D4260E9948.jpeg
    EEA92BBA-AFC1-4787-8D7B-72D4260E9948.jpeg
    166.3 KB · Views: 31

Yugen

Yamadori
Messages
99
Reaction score
72
Location
Victoria, British Columbia
USDA Zone
9A
I think this problem can be countered by grafting, and basically starting over. Bonsaichile was faster ;-)

I would try it on some cheap throwaway material first though. I had a very successful first try on junipers, the second attempt of mine is either 100% failure or 20% success. It takes practice and some skill, and good tools, and the right timing.
Grafts can take on all living tissue.
I was really hoping there was something i didnt understand about cutting back. Grafting seems very invasive and dangerous to me right now..
 

Yugen

Yamadori
Messages
99
Reaction score
72
Location
Victoria, British Columbia
USDA Zone
9A
5:2 ratio fulvic acid powder/kelp powder.
Kelp supresses auxin from terminal shoot by way of additional instant access to cytokinins from the kelp.Fulvic acid is a low molecular humic substance that carries the kelp into the leaf cells and even stem cells in as little as 4 hours.
ONLY NO MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. Kelp burns leaves.
Suppresses plant genetic safty response to halt lower buds from extending until branch break and instead forces backbuds without losing terminal growth.
Some trees react more noticebly than others.
My zelkova have backbuds on 1” branches!
Does champ on pine seedling cuttings too....will burn if used more than once a week......if in daily fertilizer,the leaves need rinsed immediately.

Black humic acid is terrific leaf wash at about 50 ppm.
Is there a name for this practice so I can learn more? This powder mix is applied to the foliage? At what time of year and for how long? This sounds intriguing but I'll need to know a whole lot more before im comfortable doing this
 

bonsaichile

Omono
Messages
1,052
Reaction score
999
Location
Denver, CO
USDA Zone
5b
5:2 ratio fulvic acid powder/kelp powder.
Kelp supresses auxin from terminal shoot by way of additional instant access to cytokinins from the kelp.Fulvic acid is a low molecular humic substance that carries the kelp into the leaf cells and even stem cells in as little as 4 hours.
ONLY NO MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. Kelp burns leaves.
Suppresses plant genetic safty response to halt lower buds from extending until branch break and instead forces backbuds without losing terminal growth.
Some trees react more noticebly than others.
My zelkova have backbuds on 1” branches!
Does champ on pine seedling cuttings too....will burn if used more than once a week......if in daily fertilizer,the leaves need rinsed immediately.

Black humic acid is terrific leaf wash at about 50 ppm.
Interesting. do you use it as foliar feed, if I understand correctly?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
5,960
Location
Netherlands
I was really hoping there was something i didnt understand about cutting back. Grafting seems very invasive and dangerous to me right now..
No, you understood it well.
Cmeg has that miracle stuff, I have it too and some pure stuff in chemical form. I do have to note that it doesn't always work on old wood. There has to be some pluripotent cell for hormones to do their job, and the older trees becomes, the fewer of those cells are available and the less likely they are to move from the apical tips downwards. Deciduous are better at that than conifers (yews might be an exception).
That's why we have such a hard time taking cuttings from old wood, that's why back budding on old wood is hard, especially for conifers since they already have a limited amount of those kind of 'stem cells' available.

Grafting can be a major hurdle to overcome, but it's mainly a mental thing. I was sweating my balls out of my shorts when I first tried it. But once you've seen it, and you know what you're doing and how to do it well, it can be a tree saver.
I think most nurseries can sell you a couple of pines for a bit of pocket change, and there's not much more you need to start experimenting.
Grafting good and nicely is a craft on its own, some of the best people out there can hide a cut so well that you can't tell if it was original or not. You can hire people to do it for you, and there's no shame in that. But I personally wouldn't do that unless I'm sure I can't do it reasonably OK myself. Give it a try or two, I think you'll be happily surprised.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,471
Reaction score
17,962
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
The lifespan of a compact branch is the same as the tree - indefinite and longer than the average human. Bonsai trees need to grow to stay healthy. One can keep a tree pruned, and with back budding replacing branches that got too large, one can keep shape for a while, sometimes multiple decades. But the tree still needs to grow. You have two choices, let the design of the tree evolve to a larger tree, or to use techniques like grafting to replace older branches. The ability of a branch to back bud varies with species. One needs to get back buds in place, to eventually form replacement branches before the wood of the branch matures beyond the ability to back bud. Otherwise grafting is needed, or redesigning the tree as a larger tree is needed.

Bonsai trees need to grow to stay healthy. For example, Hinoki simply don't back bud, exhibition trees have are usually allowed to get bigger. In time almost all shohin Hinoki become Kifu and then later Chuchin size trees. Some trees you can not keep tiny forever.
 

River's Edge

Masterpiece
Messages
3,227
Reaction score
7,869
Location
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
USDA Zone
8b
I've never attempted a graft! They can be done anywhere? Can they even be done to the trunk?
Grafting is the best route on older material. With skill and practise it can be done on branches or trunk, provided the portion chosen is live. Success is based on several factors including the health of the tree, the preparation of scions the previous year, the timing of the grafts, and the aftercare provided while the grafts take.
To answer your questions on cut back forcing back buds! If the tree is developed and the cut backs are routine over the correct time frame. IE: other factors are in place as in proper repotting, rejuvenating roots and proper pruning, rejuvenating foliage. If this is the case then pines can be maintained with close in foliage for centuries. This is more common with pines developed rather than collected ancient yamadori. Older collected conifers require additional Bonsai skill and experience with grafting for best results.
I would also temper your expectations on magical results from fertilizer and supplements used for propagation as opposed to refinement. It is important to keep all trees in vigorous condition for the best results however there are limits. Trees require proper levels of nutrients but age of portions of the tree restrict expectations.
Your best bet is to collect yamadori with older trunk that have some smaller branches to work with within the design area desired. If they are not there then plan on grafting!
Here is a shore pine that I have grafted a scion on the thicker part of the apex because I reached the limit of back budding!
If you look closely at the bark you will notice the age of this tree, grafting on the lower portion would be very difficult.IMG_0992.jpeg
 

cmeg1

Masterpiece
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
5,201
Location
Southeast Pennsylvania USA
USDA Zone
6b
Is there a name for this practice so I can learn more? This powder mix is applied to the foliage? At what time of year and for how long? This sounds intriguing but I'll need to know a whole lot more before im comfortable doing this
Here is an article Bjorn Bjorholm cited that explains it all.I put it into practice with a dutch hydro course.

At work now,so I explain later but here is article


Just a foliar feed feed
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
13,854
Reaction score
31,913
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
We all know the way to develop a branch pad is to build alternate left, right, left, right side branches, right? Well, there’s also another branch that’s needed, the “top branch”. About every other left or right, let a third branch grow. A top branch. This branch is trained to sit above the mainline branch, and provides a higher layer of foliage to the pad, so that it’s “layered”.

Here’s a diagram:

F1B4AE1A-9EE0-4737-81FD-50A8C0E960D2.jpeg
You can see the primary and secondary branches. Now look at the primary branch. See the little circles? That’s where a “top” branch could be.

The Lower drawing shows the effect from the side showing the effect of the layering.

Here’s another picture showing how to layer:

0016DBFF-3665-48DB-BC93-120F7CE3FF52.jpeg
 

cmeg1

Masterpiece
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
5,201
Location
Southeast Pennsylvania USA
USDA Zone
6b
Interesting. do you use it as foliar feed, if I understand correctly?
No more than once a week.Works incrediballt well on fresh seedling growing and throught life of plant.
I am not a scientist,but the fulvic acid is a very efficient carrier of nutrient and plant elements directly into leaf cell and soft stem cells and roots!
Is advised to cut nutrient strength by at least 30% when added to fertilizer.That is the great thing because less salt in grow medium.
These zelkova get fed a .3 EC of salt fertilizer(seedling strength) and the fulvic acid is efficient use to keep plant healthy(I am currently stalling the plant).
Would want quality water for foliar feed with fulvic acid...may increase absorption of toxic elements.
I use ro pure water....I imagine tap is fine as long as no bad minerals.
 

Attachments

  • C3435084-3EE0-4741-A437-12415A380A6C.jpeg
    C3435084-3EE0-4741-A437-12415A380A6C.jpeg
    241.1 KB · Views: 52

Shibui

Masterpiece
Messages
3,335
Reaction score
6,227
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
Grafting is the neatest way to get foliage in areas of older wood.
Another is to compress the long branches by wiring and bending the bare section thus reducing the effective overall length.
Yamadori pines and junipers often have foliage brought from other areas of the tree to supplement bare areas. Bend a spare branch from elsewhere on the tree unobtrusively through or behind so that some of its foliage is positioned in the desired area.
Both these techniques are used in most yamadori conifers. There's a good example in Bonsai Focus 163/186 from page 42 with Mauro styling a Yamadori pine from just a couple of very long branches.
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
13,854
Reaction score
31,913
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
Layering of pads and top branches is really difficult to photograph without a studio setup.

the best way to see this kind of thing is to see a tree live, in person where you can live around and see it from many angles.

I made a thread that shows it pretty well. Search threads with my user name and “fishhooks” in the title.
 

River's Edge

Masterpiece
Messages
3,227
Reaction score
7,869
Location
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
USDA Zone
8b
@River's Edge
I figure the bark is too old graft on to the trunk eh?
Not really, very small shore pine can have bark that looks aged, just like the small branches on that tree. Actually that one looks pretty young in the branch structure and trunk compared to most. But like the one I posted it takes quite a while to get the density required to form pads as Adair suggests. Mine will require four or five years more to get enough back budding from cutback to begin to form layers and depth to the pads. And as indicated I have begun grafting in some areas to bring it along faster. Yours is a much younger tree with smaller branches and should respond even quicker.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom