Pruning tip in 2 yrs old Birch

Blackbug

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Hi All,

I have a 2 yrs old birch grown from seed. Few weeks ago I did a repot and roots are doing quite well. I want to make it as formal upright. But I will let it grow unchecked for few more years so trunk can thicken up.

Meanwhile I want to prune the higher branches to allow sunlight in lower branches. Is it okay to do so? My idea for the desired height is indicated by purple arrow and pruning in red.

I welcome your suggestions and comments! 🙂
20210401_170511.jpg
 

Blackbug

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Seems unnecessary.
You mean to say lower branches won't die back if I let it unchecked? I am just worried that lower branches may die in next year and when I chop the trunk at height marked by arrow in next years, I might have very few lower branches left to supper formal upright design. So far I haven't pruned anything of this tree.
 

sorce

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That's pretty tall.

Welcome to Crazy!

The "bonsai bug", black one, makes it so that we read things in books or on the internet, then fail to remember that we can see with our own 2 eyes where sun and shade hits.

There's no way in hell that's gonna detrimentally shade out your low growth!

They're talking about thick, compact, bushy, almost trees, in those texts.

Of the height...

Of course, you may proceed however you wish, but trying to fit any tree into a preconceived image is rather.....maybe not hard, but not as efficient as possible.

Something like you have has all the potential in the world...no direction yet. Best to let it tell you, at least a few signs of what it wants to be before assisting it in that direction.

Just as we wouldn't chop down a $50K maple to "have a tree more slanted", we shouldn't try to jam young things into a certain shape.

It's just harder to see the foolishness when the material is not as expensive, and the potential is "anything".

Sorce
 

Shibui

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As the trunk thickens the existing branches will also thicken. They may well be too thick by the time your trunk has grown so may even need to be removed completely when the trunk has grown enough. This is a common procedure for fast grown deciduous trunks where almost all branches are started again after the trunk has reached required thickness. In that case retaining the lower branches is not really necessary. Usually plenty of new buds will sprout when the trunk is finally chopped.

Lots of leaves and growth helps with trunk thickening. Pruning any branches at this stage will slow the growth rate. If you really do want to keep existing lower branches just keep an eye on the health of them. Only cut upper ones if they appear to be getting weaker. It does not look like shade will be an issue as the tree is very open but some species just like to put all their effort into growing tall and can sometimes drop lower branches in order to concentrate resources on growing at the top. watch carefully to see how this one reacts. No need to be preemptive if it is not necessary.

The purple arrow looks a long way up. I guess birch are not really known for thick trunks or excessive trunk taper so how thick are you planning to grow it? I would normally develop a deciduous trunk with a series of trunk chops rather than just a single cut. every chop must be lower than the desired height because trees almost always grow up from a cut. if the purple arrow is desired height you will need to cut lower to allow room for the new apex to grow and fill out.
 

JonW

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Birch are soft so there is an argument to prune it more often and grow it more slowly rather than doing a major trunk chop that will leave an open wound for the wood to rot. Unless that's what your going for! But your pretty far from that point.

If it were me, I wouldn't chop during the growing season. Cuts can be made in the fall within two weeks of leaf drop. You could also make cuts in the spring as buds start to swell, but you might get less back budding. Each year you do a cut, you get some taper and movement in the trunk.
 

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