Most excellent Peter Tea blog post about summer work on Maples!

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#22
The goal with this process is to build a primary branch. Thicken it. So it can be cut back. Which will build taper when done repeatedly.

The approach is to concentrate the tree’s resources on building wood on that branch. The strongest auxin source is the terminal tip. The tree will build up the most vascular tissue to support that auxin source. If you allow side branches, those side branches consume resources. Resources that are not building tissue on the main branch. And you will be cutting them off as you cut back to build taper.

The same concept is used on removing side branches on sacrifice leaders on pines.

@markyscott has several threads on Trident Maples where he illustrates exactly this process on a couple tridents he’s building.
I tried it on my Seiju elm. Trying to thicken the trunk. Thanks for the idea. I have a trident in the ground that is up next.
 

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#24
Michael, I have linked that blog post few times here on the forum.
If I remember well in case of tridents he talks about what I call sellective pruning:
- clipping growth in the upper part of tree,
- defoliating, removing all leaves but terminal growth from branches we want to thicken.

This two things will pump up the growth in places we need... why? Because we left terminals untouched there, because we opened the branch to the sun, it will bud from almost every single node and we will have much more foliage than before and in places we need in a very short time. At least this is how I understand this.
Well yes, leaving the terminal will allow that branch to continue elongating. If it continues to thicken elongate then obviously it will slowly thicken as well but IF the removal of the leaves leads to the sprouting of new shoots along the length of the branch that would not otherwise occur - and you leave them - then yes, increased thickening rate will occur because you have more activity on that branch than you had previously. But that was not what was suggested in the initial discussion.
 
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#25
Nope, it’s focusing the growth.

You don’t have to believe it. You don’t even have to try it if you don’t want to. I’m just sharing the techniques the people who make the best Maples use.

But, before you put me on ignore...

Let’s take a typical tree. With a first branch. Usually the section of the trunk higher than the first branch is thicker than the first branch. Right? But that section of trunk is younger than the first branch. The first branch was allowed to grow out unfettered. Yet, somehow the trunk was able to put on more wood than the branch!
I’ll
In both cases, the trunk and the branch, both were allowed to grow unchecked yet the trunk grew thicker. There is some process in the tree that makes this happen. What we are trying to do is stimulate the tree to put on wood where we want it.
You seem a bit confused Adair. I think you are seeing the tree as a grouping of separate parts rather than as a unit. Firstly, how can the section of the trunk above a branch be younger than the branch? It's either the same age (if they grew at the same time) or older (if the branch grew out later). The reason the trunk thicker is because it is older and that it has the branch (and other branches) as well as itself to adding wood. If you want to stimulate the tree to add wood where you want it, you leave all the branches in that area. Later, you select a branch in the appropriate place and cut back to that and wire that as the new leader. Removing side branches will inhibit the thickening of the entire branch. (or trunk) We can clearly see this when we look at street trees which have been deprived of their side branches are very thin in diameter compared to trees which have not. Wood is basically carbon (sugars) which leaves and young branches manufacture with the help of sunlight. The more growth the more carbon (wood) is produced.
Theoretically I could make a Maple 10 feet high and one inch thick by removing everything but the tip.
 
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#26
My uneducated opinion...The total overall growth is the same regardless of the amount of shoots/sidebranches left on. The difference is the total growth is distributed roughly equally over the total # of branches.

Reducing to one main leader focuses 100% of the growth to that single piece. Leaving more than one divides the same amount of growth over the total # of branches.

Growth rate is the same for both, it’s dividing that growth by the amount of leaders/branches available.
Not at all like this. The more you leave the more growth is achieved. If you remove branches/leaves, the growth rate slows down. You won't get the same amount of growth redistributed. 1 + 2 = 3. 2 - 1 does not = 2
 
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#27
You seem a bit confused Adair. I think you are seeing the tree as a grouping of separate parts rather than as a unit. Firstly, how can the section of the trunk above a branch be younger than the branch? It's either the same age (if they grew at the same time) or older (if the branch grew out later). The reason the trunk thicker is because it is older and that it has the branch (and other branches) as well as itself to adding wood. If you want to stimulate the tree to add wood where you want it, you leave all the branches in that area. Later, you select a branch in the appropriate place and cut back to that and wire that as the new leader. Removing side branches will inhibit the thickening of the entire branch. (or trunk) We can clearly see this when we look at street trees which have been deprived of their side branches are very thin in diameter compared to trees which have not. Wood is basically carbon (sugars) which leaves and young branches manufacture with the help of sunlight. The more growth the more carbon (wood) is produced.
Maybe distance from the ground and gravity have some influence on trunk thickness. At least that's a possibility.
 

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Not at all like this. The more you leave the more growth is achieved. If you remove branches/leaves, the growth rate slows down. You won't get the same amount of growth redistributed. 1 + 2 = 3. 2 - 1 does not = 2
Agreed. As long as you’re trying to thicken all parts of a tree, let everything grow. If you’re focusing on one part, say for example the trunk, removing the other pieces will focus all the energy there.
 
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#31
Agreed. As long as you’re trying to thicken all parts of a tree, let everything grow. If you’re focusing on one part, say for example the trunk, removing the other pieces will focus all the energy there.
I have my doubts that you can re-direct energy from one part to another, particularly if they are well separated. The energy mainly comes from the leaves above the ''part''. What you in fact are doing is slowing down one part and letting the other catch up.
 
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#32
This is just made up nonsense. Removing anything reduces growth. If you want a branch to thicken and extend quickly don't remove anything.
Perhaps you could reference the effects of Auxin and its relationship to apical buds before you make up your mind! Science is not nonsense, it is provable! The same principle is behind the trimming of a sacrifice leader in pines. A practise noted and explained by many prominent pine growers world wide.
As you have proclaimed it to be nonsense could you please explain scientifically why you believe that?
Or just as importantly why you feel you have the authority to proclaim it nonsense? Have you tried this approach?
I have a nursery and I specialise in Japanese Black pines. I switched my growing methods to reflect this principal and it makes a huge difference. The suggestion was made to me by a well respected pine grower who is a member of this B-Nut community. One who is sought after to speak and instruct other Bonsai Nursery growers. I have also used the same principal with Japanese Maples and noted the difference.
 
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#33
Not at all like this. The more you leave the more growth is achieved. If you remove branches/leaves, the growth rate slows down. You won't get the same amount of growth redistributed. 1 + 2 = 3. 2 - 1 does not = 2
I think you’re oversimplifying. The physiology of trees isn’t as complex as a human’s, but it’s not simple either. Armchair reasoning about how a tree is likely to respond to a particular horticultural practice might work under some lucky circumstances, but trees can also do things that are very counterintuitive. There are a huge number of factors involved: thermodynamics, mechanical forces, chemical reactions, adsorption, cell signaling, circadian rhythms, phase changes, passive transport of water and nutrients (diffusion), active transport of substrates across the cell membranes (both influx and efflux transporters), mass and energy balance, etc.

Bottom line: You can’t know the answer just from reasoning about trees. You have to try it to find out. Even then, you still don’t know for sure unless you conducted a proper experiment with a well defined testable hypothesis, a control group, standardized treatment protocol, sized appropriately to achieve the desired statistical power. Even then, it’s not certain because you weren’t blinded for the study and maybe you’ve unintentionally biased your results or perhaps there was something important you failed to consider in your experimental design. But, you could be more confident that your technique was a successful one.

Experienced bonsai artists have tried this technique and repeatedly achieved desirable results with it. That holds a lot more weight, in my opinion, than anyone’s theoretical musings about how the tree ought to behave. Having tried it on my own trees and seen that I could achieve similar results made me believe that it is worth doing.
 
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#34
Perhaps you could reference the effects of Auxin and its relationship to apical buds before you make up your mind! Science is not nonsense, it is provable! The same principle is behind the trimming of a sacrifice leader in pines. A practise noted and explained by many prominent pine growers world wide.
As you have proclaimed it to be nonsense could you please explain scientifically why you believe that?
Or just as importantly why you feel you have the authority to proclaim it nonsense? Have you tried this approach?
I have a nursery and I specialise in Japanese Black pines. I switched my growing methods to reflect this principal and it makes a huge difference. The suggestion was made to me by a well respected pine grower who is a member of this B-Nut community. One who is sought after to speak and instruct other Bonsai Nursery growers. I have also used the same principal with Japanese Maples and noted the difference.
Ok so this is what Peter Tea says....''What we do is cut of all the leave long the branch and only leave the leaves at the terminal end. By doing this, it will actually force the branch to elongate faster. Why is that you say? Basically, we removed the food competition on this branch. All the energy and food is going to go directly to the terminal end instead and force it to grow faster''.

There is no mention of thickening in the paragraph above other than in the paragraph above it where he mentions he needs that branch to thicken (obviously). It is obvious that allowing the tip to remain will allow it to continue extension. That is not in dispute. My argument is that by removing side growth of any kind will inhibit thickening. There are no ifs or buts about this. It just is a fact. There may be other reasons to eliminate side branches. One may be to remove congestion close to the tree and by cutting off the closer branches and allowing the end to keep extending allows you to keep the sacrifice branch for a much longer period. The longer you keep it, the more it grows and the thicker it will get. Again, that's obvious. No one is disputing that part. But trying to argue that removing the side branches from the one you are trying to thicken will in fact increase thickening rate when compared to not removing them is pure voodoo bullshit. In other words, you may achieve faster lengthening but there is no way on Earth you will get faster thickening. Thickening comes from growth and only from growth. The more growth the more thickening. As I see it the reason the side branches are pruned and the tip left is that you get to keep the branch for a longer period of time because you obviously cannot keep all the branches. They would eventually interfere with light and air movement thereby weakening other parts of the tree. There is no need for in-depth scientific explanations here. More wood builds yet more wood. It's that simple. So what Peter Tea is saying is not entirely accurate. The branch will elongate a faster rate (perhaps) but if by ''grow faster'' he means it will also thicken faster is just wrong. I don't need to do trials either. I have been pruning trees for damn near 40 years and I have observed this phenomenon time and time again.
 
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#35
Lorax7,

Experienced bonsai artists have tried this technique and repeatedly achieved desirable results with it.
Well yeah. Let a branch continue to grow and guess what...it will increase in size!
 
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#36
Ok so this is what Peter Tea says....''What we do is cut of all the leave long the branch and only leave the leaves at the terminal end. By doing this, it will actually force the branch to elongate faster. Why is that you say? Basically, we removed the food competition on this branch. All the energy and food is going to go directly to the terminal end instead and force it to grow faster''.

There is no mention of thickening in the paragraph above other than in the paragraph above it where he mentions he needs that branch to thicken (obviously). It is obvious that allowing the tip to remain will allow it to continue extension. That is not in dispute. My argument is that by removing side growth of any kind will inhibit thickening. There are no ifs or buts about this. It just is a fact. There may be other reasons to eliminate side branches. One may be to remove congestion close to the tree and by cutting off the closer branches and allowing the end to keep extending allows you to keep the sacrifice branch for a much longer period. The longer you keep it, the more it grows and the thicker it will get. Again, that's obvious. No one is disputing that part. But trying to argue that removing the side branches from the one you are trying to thicken will in fact increase thickening rate when compared to not removing them is pure voodoo bullshit. In other words, you may achieve faster lengthening but there is no way on Earth you will get faster thickening. Thickening comes from growth and only from growth. The more growth the more thickening. As I see it the reason the side branches are pruned and the tip left is that you get to keep the branch for a longer period of time because you obviously cannot keep all the branches. They would eventually interfere with light and air movement thereby weakening other parts of the tree. There is no need for in-depth scientific explanations here. More wood builds yet more wood. It's that simple. So what Peter Tea is saying is not entirely accurate. The branch will elongate a faster rate (perhaps) but if by ''grow faster'' he means it will also thicken faster is just wrong. I don't need to do trials either. I have been pruning trees for damn near 40 years and I have observed this phenomenon time and time again.
The dominant hormone influences the type of growth that occurs with the food that is produced. It is not just the amount of food produced by havering more or less photosynthesis based on foliage. That is where the role of auxin plays a part.
 

Smoke

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#37
Nope, it’s focusing the growth.

You don’t have to believe it. You don’t even have to try it if you don’t want to. I’m just sharing the techniques the people who make the best Maples use.

But, before you put me on ignore...

Let’s take a typical tree. With a first branch. Usually the section of the trunk higher than the first branch is thicker than the first branch. Right? But that section of trunk is younger than the first branch. The first branch was allowed to grow out unfettered. Yet, somehow the trunk was able to put on more wood than the branch!
I’ll
In both cases, the trunk and the branch, both were allowed to grow unchecked yet the trunk grew thicker. There is some process in the tree that makes this happen. What we are trying to do is stimulate the tree to put on wood where we want it.
What if they are grafted which is the tried and true technique in JJJapan! The whole younger older idea is just silly fodder then. Hell even my paltry maples all have grafted branches on them.....Just watch my avatar I cut them all off and started over.
 

Smoke

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#38
Of my six best tridents all of them have grafted branches on them. Three of them have been totally cut to a stump and all the branches grafted on.

You can't trust anything you see coming out of Japan. You never know the whole story. Some people think they know...but they don't know. My old teacher was educated in Japan and spent most of his young life there. He has told me many stories about how bonsai is done in Japan and it is really all smoke and mirrors. You will never hear that from those in Japan but they cheat and lie just like we do.

Photo from two weeks ago. I worked with this man for 7 years monthly. Ask Walter Pall about his take on Katsumi Kinoshita.
IMG_8417.jpg

His Japanese Black Pine started with seed from after the Bomb attack on Hiroshima.

DSC_0006.JPG
 
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#39
I’d like to say congrats to everyone so far, for keeping this civil.
Usually these debates get heated and tempers flare, devolving in to arguments.
It’s great to debate, a lot of info comes out, which is great for beginners such as myself.

Well done so far!
 
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#40
The dominant hormone influences the type of growth that occurs with the food that is produced. It is not just the amount of food produced by havering more or less photosynthesis based on foliage. That is where the role of auxin plays a part.
Forget ''type of growth'' and hormones. What you leave on your pines thickens them, not what you cut off. If you grow your sacrifice branches out then tie the ends vertically they will shoot away with more vigour than the rest of the tree. The auxin produced at the upper part will suppress growth further down. YES! It won't stop it. The other branches beneath the apex will continue to grow but at a slower rate. Their tips will also produce auxins which suppress growth below them. YES! That is how a tree works. Without that you would not have a tree you would have a ground cover with all shoots of equal thickness more or less. You are getting caught up in this point but missing the main one. It's the total mass (the amount) of the foliage which will determine the diameter of the stems below them. The mass (number) of those stems will determine the diameter of the stems below them, and so on.
Let me put it to you this way. So you have pruned the side branches from your sacrifice branch of your pine and left the tip. Ok. Now the tip divides into 5 and grows away. One of the five shoots remains the leader and hence the strongest shoot. According to Adair's theory, if we want to increase the rate of thickening, we should remove the side shoots and leave the tip and it will grow faster and ''build wood''. Here he is again in case you missed it. '' If you allow side branches, those side branches consume resources. Resources that are not building tissue on the main branch'' ''The approach is to concentrate the tree’s resources on building wood on that branch''
What do you think would really happen? If you leave all the 5 shoots you will thicken the branch behind them. If you remove some of them you slow it down. The more you remove, the more you slow it down. I don't think it could be any simpler.
The trouble with Adair - God bless him, is that he copies theories which he hears without really understanding what is actually happening.
 

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