[Podocarpus] Starting from a seedling...have a development plan that's not "grow large & trunk-chop it", hoping for thoughts (I sketched it/jpg!)

SU2

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[see end for my best attempt at drawing this concept/progression :) ]

Finally biting the bullet, got a 'seedling' ("whip", "starter"?) Podocarpus last night, lil 6" thing probably half-pencil thickness, could wire it into an O if I wanted (I do not :p )

I don't work w/ lil seedlings or grow-outs like this, my first thought is "ground-grow like any yard tree, then go 'collect' it from your garden & trunk-chop it" but that just seems like a really wasteful/inefficient way to get to the final designs we'd aim for... With "regular deciduous" like Podo's (or Ficus etc) that are being started from small seedling stock, I am envisioning another approach that I think would yield a good end-result in shorter time (this approach does kinda put the "order of things" a bit differently than a "grow out, trunk-chop, develop skeleton, refinement" strategy does, it has the apex's "culling" and refinement beginning wayyyy earlier on, and is instead growing-out the primaries in a manner where they've got 'sacrificial growth' to girthen them, so you can ultimately arrive at a design with thick lower-branches and a more refined/ramified apex!) My idea for it is:

1- Through year 1 let it grow solid side-branching but only allowing as many side branches as you're intending to keep as primary-branching for the final design,
2- Start of 2nd year you "trunk chop" the thin trunk, bringing it down to just a bit above your highest primary's height, leaving enough height on it that you can be sure you'll get backbudding above that lowest side-primary
3 - Through coming years you'd never let the trunk/top run, instead "clip & grow" pruning all the time, this would force heavy ramification into the apex early-on, as well as help fuel growth in those side-primaries you've been retaining & growing. These side-primaries would be grown so that their original growing-tips were never pruned, instead being allowed to run, but here's the "twist" - you'd position their ends away-from the main plant, keeping the ends as "sacrifice", you'd prune-off the tertiary shoots it'd throw in-between its tip and its base (where you'd be actively developing, "clip&grow", the ramification of the lowest-on-branch tertiary growth....this means your side-primaries' ramification would be getting worked on early, though it'd still be thickening well as far as branch-girth since it had that big sacrifice-growth 'leg' hanging off it)
4 - Once the girth & ramification of the lower parts of these primaries is looking good, you "branch-chop" those sacrificial 'legs' off the ends of the side-primaries, this would leave you chop-wounds to deal with but far smaller (I'd imagine you'd clip the apical tip of these side primaries in year 2 or 3, basically you'd just let them run until they made the girth needed for final-design (well, 85% of that girth at least) and then you'd be cutting-back to the "highest" of the lower tertiary branches you'd been keeping & developing this whole time, those branches getting full sun since you've wired-away the long sacrifice 'legs'. This does leave a wound but, if cut back to, say, the 3rd tertiary, leaving 3 tertiaries on that side primary, that'd simply be "the new growing-tip" of that limb/primary that highest tertiary would 'take over as leader' for the branch and sure it'd be disproportionately thick at first but from this point you'd just begin developing/refining that limb in a manner where the lower tertiaries are allowed to run & thicken a bit while concurrently being aggressive to the top-most / growing-tip of the branch, just like you'd been doing the trunk's tip since the beginning of year-2!)

Feels like this way of "skinning the cat" would favor a lower-branch-heaviness that trunk chopping a large specimen doesn't give so easily...also feel like it'd be a lot quicker, since you'd be taking care of the hard-chops much earlier in the process, almost swapping over to "cut&grow"(then silhouette-pruning), but during that last phase of silhouette pruning is the time you'd have your chop-wounds closing (as you'd be making these cuts based-upon the overall development, of course)
Would think this would, in comparable time, yield a specimen whose ramification the apex is far better, and its lower-branch-girth much MUCH better, than you'd ever get by taking a tall trunk and doing the standard "trunk-chop, wait on back-budding, use them to create a new tree on the trunk you collected" (which has been my norm/default collection method for half a decade, only got into 'lil stuff' relatively recently) Would very much appreciate thoughts on this, I know that at-first when you cut those long "sacrificial leg portions" of the side primaries, that there'd be issues of inverse-taper at the tip of the new limb, as that lil "highest tertiary" from way lower on the limb takes-over as the limb's leader, but this cut would be made at like 2/3rds of the way through the development process so the following development/growth of that limb would ultimately fix the taper in the time it took to close that wound because it'd be at least a couple years to close that branch-chop-wound so you'd have couple years' further growth from the tertiaries, it's like your ramification and your taper would be "lining up" for the finished design (and the densely-ramified apex would be getting worked on from the start since you'd never allow a leader/primary to 'run', only side primaries, you'd be well on the way to a dense apex by the time you were finishing closing the chops on the side limbs!)

Thanks :D

Oh here's my sketching of it, obviously it's "skeleton sketch" (ie I made it for illustrative purposes to show this plan, it's not necessarily the shape/form I've got in-mind)
19700105_084227.jpg
 

SU2

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[Mistake in the sketch: For the Year-3 pic in the middle of the page, in pen I drew alongside the long, no-secondaries-allowed, portion of the right side's primary and wrote "sacrificial 'pads' at ends of each primary", that's not fully true it's the entire leg that'd be getting hard-pruned back to the highest secondary it had, which would be taking-over as leader for the limb at that point, so of course the pad at the end would also come-off when removing the whole sacrifice leg portion of these side-primaries. The inverse taper at these 'mini chop wounds' would be overcome in the following years by overly-aggressive pruning of these thick primary tips while concurrently letting the lower secondaries on the limbs "run", so they can girthen & catch-up, fixing / erasing inverse issues in a couple/few years of such training]
 

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