P. Mume care - Wiring & Pruning in particular

007

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P. Mume care - Wiring & Pruning in particular (UPDATED)

After extensive searching, I finally have sourced some excellent P. Mume material and have two tree's on the way . . . one for a shohin sized tree, and another for something a fair bit bigger.

I've had an apricot in the past that I got from Brent at EGW, but all I ever did with this tree was water it and feed it since I was still developing the trunk. The tree's I have now are well developed and ready for initial styling work.

I know that repotting should be done after flowering . . . I'm not worried about that.

But when is the best time to wire?

What about pruning? I know this too should be carried out after flowering, but I have read about "rotational" pruning and I'm not sure what that is. I also will need to do some heavy pruning on each of these the first time around.

I'd also be interested in saving cuttings from these, so any info on that is appreciated as well.

I've tried searching the web and have had little success. If you have any resources, that would be great.

Thanks!
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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Congrats on the Ume finds! Last year, one of our club members brought an Ume to a Kathy Shaner workshop, and this year I worked on one with Peter Warren. Both said the same on the timing:

* Mid-summer: wire green shoots, but don't prune back.
* Winter: when flower buds fatten, you can shorten those shoots back to a profile that looks good when flowering.
* Late winter/spring: after flowering, prune it back hard, to 1-2 nodes and repot.
* Late spring: pinch back a little, but not later or you'll risk flowering in the winter.

Some other notes Peter shared:
* Smooth, glossy leaves won’t have flower buds at their bases. Those that are a little rougher in texture will flower, they look/feel different. Flowering-leaves also curl up in the fall.
* It's ok to let downward-growing shoots grow down, then bolt back up.
* You can actually "snap" branches when wiring, and as long as they're partly attached, they will live and look very natural.
* Use guy-wires on heavier branches so they don't break off at their bases.
* Deadwood on ume looks great (they both said this) and will persist for many years.

Brent's article on rotational pruning is the only place I've read this recommendation, and may apply to growing out full-sized trees. If not, it seems to fit in at the "late winter/spring" bullet above, and instead of pruning everything back to 1-2 nodes, some would be left long. This doesn't seem to fit into the bonsai training, but maybe Brent will weigh in and clarify.

Good luck, keep photos coming!
 
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007

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Great information, exactly what I was looking for. Its interesting (and makes sense, given the flowering) that there's no recommendation for Fall work. When should cuttings be taken? During the hard prune after flowering?

I have repeatedly heard that deadwood looks great with Ume, however I've yet to see an example that really features any extensive carving. Both of the tree's I am getting (not quite in possession yet) have several wounds, and the big one has a large trunk chop near the top. I would definitely like to incorporate a nice shari.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Peter suggested to get some cuttings growing to use for grafting later if needed, but none survived from April. I did strike a few more last weekend when I wired, so we'll see. I didn't make much of an effort.

At his website he has photos of a few of K. Kobayashi's ume: http://www.saruyama.co.uk/plugins/photogallery/index.php?photocatid=1 . Two of them have deadwood.

Also, a simple google search for Ume Bonsai turned up several good images.

He had me run a strike of deadwood all the way from the nebari to the top on mine, it is a pretty good start. He also suggested going a bit further by opening up a wound in the left side that would connect a new hole to the existing deadwood, and carving another jin out of a stump at the top of the first bend.
 

jquast

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Thanks for the notes on this Brian. I picked up quite a few of these this year (Bill V. cuttings and a local nursery that was going out of business) and these notes will come in handy in the future.

jeff
 

007

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Now, for the carving . . . . would the approach be similar to say a shimpaku? What I have always done there - on a trunk for example - would be to score out the desired boundary with a sharp blade and then peel out the interior bark to the cambium.

For a branch, I would score around the base of the branch to create a clean boundary and then peel back bark to the score?

I've never created deadwood on a deciduous before!
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Now, for the carving . . . . would the approach be similar to say a shimpaku? What I have always done there - on a trunk for example - would be to score out the desired boundary with a sharp blade and then peel out the interior bark to the cambium.

For a branch, I would score around the base of the branch to create a clean boundary and then peel back bark to the score?

I've never created deadwood on a deciduous before!
Correct; except past the cambium and down to the hard wood. And using a gouge, carve a few lines into the exposed wood along the way to add a little character. Mother Nature will handle the rest.
 
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007

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Thanks! I'll be sure and post more pics when the tree's arrive. I'm picking the big one up on saturday and the smaller one in October. I think the smaller one is going to have more options for some interesting carving.
 

Jessf

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Correct; except past the cambium and down to the hard wood. And using a gouge, carve a few lines into the exposed wood along the way to add a little character. Mother Nature will handle the rest.
meaning the wood will rot in a natural way? Is it beneficial to carve deeper and seal the wood?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Yes, let it rot to a certain point...then applying some sealer to slow it down may be a good idea. I don't think carving deeper once and for all is the best course unless you're really good at carving and it will look natural.
 

fredtruck

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Peter Adams in his book, The Art of Flowering Bonsai, has some good advice on prunus mume, particularly on feeding.
 

007

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Okay, so the big one is now in my possession . . . and I must say, I am very happy with this material. Unfortunately, my camera software is down (damn annual license) so no pics for now . . .

The tree is in a large anderson tray, and is in a mediocre soil mix. I'm sure it will be fine until spring.

Now, I know that the previous recommendation was to wire in summer, which I plan to do. But in order to do that, I need to do some pruning . . . no major branches, but there are a lot of 1-2 year old whips that need to be removed. I was thinking that doing this now, during the active growing season, would be best to allow the cuts to start healing and try to reduce the threat of spring fungal infections. I know that I risk the flowering, but I wouldn't cut everything (duh).

Same logic for carving. I have a nice line of shari that would incorporate a trunk chop and branch cuts lower down the trunk . . . doing this in spring seems like an invitation for an infection, but what do I know . . .

Thoughts? I promise, I will post pics as soon as I can . . .
 

GerhardG

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Hi

Sorry to jump in hear...

Firstly thanks (Brian) for the info, just want to make sure it's valid for all Prunus, I have a cerasifera in a nursery bag waiting for winter to pass.

Thanks
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Okay, so the big one is now in my possession . . . and I must say, I am very happy with this material. Unfortunately, my camera software is down (damn annual license) so no pics for now . . .

The tree is in a large anderson tray, and is in a mediocre soil mix. I'm sure it will be fine until spring.

Now, I know that the previous recommendation was to wire in summer, which I plan to do. But in order to do that, I need to do some pruning . . . no major branches, but there are a lot of 1-2 year old whips that need to be removed. I was thinking that doing this now, during the active growing season, would be best to allow the cuts to start healing and try to reduce the threat of spring fungal infections. I know that I risk the flowering, but I wouldn't cut everything (duh).

Same logic for carving. I have a nice line of shari that would incorporate a trunk chop and branch cuts lower down the trunk . . . doing this in spring seems like an invitation for an infection, but what do I know . . .

Thoughts? I promise, I will post pics as soon as I can . . .
Mediocre soil mix: it's going to have to do until spring; there is a right time for everything.

Pruning now: the pros say don't. Anything that you leave now will make the tree stronger next spring. Removing unwanted shoots now will weaken the tree, and for what purpose?

Carving: Probably a spring task, but I think you could do it now if you're not interrupting a sap line that feeds a major branch. If you're worried about fungal infections, keep your tools clean and use preventative fungicides.
 

007

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Well its a good thing I checked here before I went to town on this thing! I was about to!

The soil mix will be fine until spring. Its just not very retentive is all, and not uniform in comparison to my typical mix.

As for pruning . . . I think part of the motive is in all honesty, simple impatience :rolleyes: But the other aspect is a legitimate concern about fungal infections. Feb through March/april can be kinda damp around socal and I know that can be a factor in spring fungal infections. I'll have to look into a good fungicide. Any suggestions?

I don't think I will carve now either . . . I don't want to take a chance on weakening the tree, especially if I know (now) that I will be doing other major work come spring.

And finally, here are some pictures. First show's the the chop (~5 years ago), second is the probable front and third is an attempt at showing the whole tree in its current state. I don't have editing software or else I would trace the lines that I am envisioning for the shari, but essentially it will incorporate the chop, removal of the shoot on the front of the tree directly below the chop, and the three larger cuts down the trunk.
 

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chansen

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Well its a good thing I checked here before I went to town on this thing! I was about to!

The soil mix will be fine until spring. Its just not very retentive is all, and not uniform in comparison to my typical mix.

As for pruning . . . I think part of the motive is in all honesty, simple impatience :rolleyes: But the other aspect is a legitimate concern about fungal infections. Feb through March/april can be kinda damp around socal and I know that can be a factor in spring fungal infections. I'll have to look into a good fungicide. Any suggestions?

I don't think I will carve now either . . . I don't want to take a chance on weakening the tree, especially if I know (now) that I will be doing other major work come spring.

And finally, here are some pictures. First show's the the chop (~5 years ago), second is the probable front and third is an attempt at showing the whole tree in its current state. I don't have editing software or else I would trace the lines that I am envisioning for the shari, but essentially it will incorporate the chop, removal of the shoot on the front of the tree directly below the chop, and the three larger cuts down the trunk.
Did you by chance get these from Telperion Farms? The background of the pic looks like the one Chris uses. I bought a larger Ume from him last summer. It came out of the ground in a grow bag. I don't think it appreciated being pulled from the ground in Oregon in August and coming to Utah... But, it's done really well this year, so I started working it. I will say that the soil will probably be fine for a while. If it's the same grow mix he used with the trees I have, it's mostly pumice and composted chicken manure (if I remember right). Either way, it's retained enough water for me without staying wet too long. I water at least once a day in the summer, often twice.

Nice trees, I think I looked at them last year when I was up there. Good luck with them!
 

007

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The small one is coming from Telperion, though its not in my possession yet. Chris is bringing it down to Riverside when he comes for GBSF in October. The larger one is not.
 
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Congrats on the Ume finds! Last year, one of our club members brought an Ume to a Kathy Shaner workshop, and this year I worked on one with Peter Warren. Both said the same on the timing:

* Mid-summer: wire green shoots, but don't prune back.
* Winter: when flower buds fatten, you can shorten those shoots back to a profile that looks good when flowering.
* Late winter/spring: after flowering, prune it back hard, to 1-2 nodes and repot.
* Late spring: pinch back a little, but not later or you'll risk flowering in the winter.

Some other notes Peter shared:
* Smooth, glossy leaves won’t have flower buds at their bases. Those that are a little rougher in texture will flower, they look/feel different. Flowering-leaves also curl up in the fall.
* It's ok to let downward-growing shoots grow down, then bolt back up.
* You can actually "snap" branches when wiring, and as long as they're partly attached, they will live and look very natural.
* Use guy-wires on heavier branches so they don't break off at their bases.
* Deadwood on ume looks great (they both said this) and will persist for many years.

Brent's article on rotational pruning is the only place I've read this recommendation, and may apply to growing out full-sized trees. If not, it seems to fit in at the "late winter/spring" bullet above, and instead of pruning everything back to 1-2 nodes, some would be left long. This doesn't seem to fit into the bonsai training, but maybe Brent will weigh in and clarify.

Good luck, keep photos coming!
Actually is the other way around ... smooth ,glossy leaves = blooming branches
 
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this is how you chose to use your first post on the forum?
there's no better beginning ... Are you gonna tell me how to use my first one? did I offend you ? :p
I read something that is wrong, that's all... I don't need to post 34.569 post to tell you this, do I?
 
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