The fastest way to develop deciduous bonsai: Walter Pall's hedge pruning method explained

Maloghurst

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I think you've got yourself muddled a bit. I can't recall anyone saying more thickening occurs if you hedge / prune as opposed to letting it grow. Can you find where or who said it (apart from yourself)?

However, because the method means you prune at 6-8 week intervals a LOT of growth can occur. Here is a Katsura tree I hedged around May 20th and has been left to grow since then. It will be pruned in a week or two. A lot of thickening has occurred in the branches during that period (but not as much as if I'd not pruned it). I'm happy about this as the trunk is thicker than my thigh so this method will get the branches in scale faster. View attachment 252362

Naturally I'll wire some movement into the branches when I prune it back to the intended silhouette. Hope this has cleared things up.
Yes thank you, I guess I was reading too much into the phrase that “hedging causes thickening in branches”. Because it has always slowed the thickening of branches for me, not cause thickening.
I thought that hedging was only to increase ramification and force new buds to pop then you have many choices to work with when you branch select in fall.
“I'm happy about this as the trunk is thicker than my thigh so this method will get the branches in scale faster”
If you want them in scale faster, wouldn’t you let them extend?

I have a maple that need lower branches to increase in size so I’ve been hedging the upper canopy and leaving the lower branches to thicken.
 

Colorado

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This @Colorado guy seems to fit the snowflake description to a tee.
Lol.

“I’m not an XYZ, YOU’RE the XYZ!!!” Very creative argument, buddy.

In hindsight, I can’t believe I got sucked into this bullshit, Internet forum pissing match. First time for everything, I suppose. Lesson learned.

If you want to endorse disrespectful behavior by people with “better” miniature trees towards people with “worse” miniature trees, then knock yourself out. This shit in this thread is so incredibly stupid, I’m not wasting any more time or energy on it.
 

Walter Pall

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OK it seems we have to clarify a few things here:

The method is called hedging method. It carries that name because it works very similar to caring for a hedge with similar results.

The result is very dense ramification - MUCH denser than the same tree if you just let it grow and don't hedge over a longer period of time.
Key to the hedging method is not that the branches are cut, but that they were let grow much more than one does in orthodox bonsai. The branches can get very long and certainly thicken themselves, the trunk and the nebari while they grow and produce energy - much more energy than the branch would have ever produced if someone had pinched it early.
Then the cut. Of course, the hedging cut itself does not thicken anything. It actually stops thickening because this sugar producing machine is cut off. But the tree has stored a lot of energy in form of sugar ans starches that it is able to answer the cut with producing lots of buds again - a lot more than it normally would. It overreacts, because it can. The buds will not only be at the end but the tree will also back bud a lot.

The effect is increased if you do full defoliation immediately after the first cut. But now listen! It is very important to understand that defoliation can only be done on very healthy trees and not on all species. Also the timing is important. Defoliation must be done BEFORE the summer solstice!

Then comes the second flush. All these new buds become little twigs. Where there was a long lonely shoot now there are lots of smaller branches. They are finer than the first flush. They become mature (what often is called 'hardening off') and start to produce energy again. They thicken the branch, trunk and nebari again. Since there was lot of back budding they create taper where there was no taper before.

This second flush one lets grow again. It is not as vigorous as the fist one, but it will grow long in six to eight weeks again. Then the second big cut follows. Now we have beginning of August already. Again the same game: the tree overreacts and produces more buds than it normally would. Again they grow. But they are not as coarse as the first flush. This thickens the branches, the trunk and the nebari again. Energy is stored.

Then nothing. You wait until all the foliage is off and you have a long window. From about November time to about end of March you can cut back again. But now you don't just hedge prune it - now you do selective cutting with fine scissors. I actually hedge prune the tree a third time and then doe the fine tuning. You have a luxury problem: too many branches. You can take off a lot and still have a very well ramified crown.The third flush brought fine branchlets and lots of small buds. Then the same game next spring.

This all has nothing to do with the kind of style you want to achieve. it is a method to develops a tree to get very dense ramification, very small buds and good taper all over and to thicken branches, trunk and nebari. You can apply this method to classically styled trees, to naturalistic trees, or anything. Since I want to develop every tree , even if is already is very good I apply the method to all of my broadleaved trees and some conifers. Even <award winning trees can get better!

Attached is one of my maples six weeks after the second cut. See the fine branches and small leaves. This should be prove that what most people are afraid of does not happen at all: they are afraid of coarse growth and claim that only with pinching you get fine growth. Look at this maple. It was not pinched at all in nine years It was hedged three time2019-07-TSB_0627ofw.jpg2019-07-TSB_0628ofw.jpgs every year. Now see the result of hedging.
 
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LanceMac10

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@Walter Pall why so adamant about doing this pre-solstice? Is it related to the fact that you will do two "hedgings" and you would need time for the tree to prepare for dormancy, i.e. not push new growth too late in the season?
 

Adair M

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OK it seems we have to clarify a few things here:

The method is called hedging method. It carries that name because it works very similar to caring for a hedge with similar results.

The result is very dense ramification - MUCH denser than the same tree if you just let it grow and don't hedge over a longer period of time.
Key to the hedging method is not that the branches are cut, but that they were let grow much more than one does in orthodox bonsai. The branches can get very long and certainly thicken themselves, the trunk and the nebari while they grow and produce energy - much more energy than the branch would have ever produced if someone had pinched it early.
Then the cut. Of course, the hedging cut itself does not thicken anything. It actually stops thickening because this sugar producing machine is cut off. But the tree has stored a lot of energy in form of sugar ans starches that it is able to answer the cut with producing lots of buds again - a lot more than it normally would. It overreacts, because it can. The buds will not only be at the end but the tree will also back bud a lot.

The effect is increased if you do full defoliation immediately after the first cut. But now listen! It is very important to understand that defoliation can only be done on very healthy trees and not on all species. Also the timing is important. Defoliation must be done BEFORE the summer solstice!

Then comes the second flush. All these new buds become little twigs. Where there was a long lonely shoot now there are lots of smaller branches. They are finer than the first flush. They become mature (what often is called 'hardening off') and start to produce energy again. They thicken the branch, trunk and nebari again. Since there was lot of back budding they create taper where there was no taper before.

This second flush one lets grow again. It is not as vigorous as the fist one, but it will grow long in six to eight weeks again. Then the second big cut follows. Now we have beginning of August already. Again the same game: the tree overreacts and produces more buds than it normally would. Again they grow. But they are not as coarse as the first flush. This thickens the branches, the trunk and the nebari again. Energy is stored.

Then nothing. You wait until all the foliage is off and you have a long window. From about November time to about end of March you can cut back again. But now you don't just hedge prune it - now you do selective cutting with fine scissors. I actually hedge prune the tree a third time and then doe the fine tuning. You have a luxury problem: too many branches. You can take off a lot and still have a very well ramified crown.The third flush brought fine branchlets and lots of small buds. Then the same game next spring.

This all has nothing to do with the kind of style you want to achieve. it is a method to develops a tree to get very dense ramification, very small buds and good taper all over and to thicken branches, trunk and nebari. You can apply this method to classically styled trees, to naturalistic trees, or anything. Since I want to develop every tree , even if is already is very good I apply the method to all of my broadleaved trees and some conifers. Even <award winning trees can get better!

Attached is one of my maples six weeks after the second cut. See the fine branches and small leaves. This should be prove that what most people are afraid of does not happen at all: they are afraid of coarse growth and claim that only with pinching you get fine growth. Look at this maple. It was not pinched at all in nine years It was hedged three timeView attachment 252377View attachment 252378s every year. Now see the result of hedging.
Thank you, Walter, for the detailed explanation. Your text was far more instructive than the video!
 

sorce

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Walter, I think the BEST thing I ever heard you say is this about "You Must do Everything like I do", or you won't get the same results.
That was in regards to Soil, Watering, Feeding,.....
Which I don't think we do equal to begin with.

But I know you also keep Much more root at repotting than we are taught.

I think this adds up to this....
The branches can get very long and certainly thicken themselves
But we don't see it because we lack in the rest of the ...ahem...careas. Care Areas!

Do you have any photos of the growth you get before cutback?

Sorce
 

Microscopic

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Meanwhile, some Canadian guy call this technique "profile pruning" 🤪 :cool:

and continue here
 

Walter Pall

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@Walter Pall why so adamant about doing this pre-solstice? Is it related to the fact that you will do two "hedgings" and you would need time for the tree to prepare for dormancy, i.e. not push new growth too late in the season?
Because of the nature of the beast. The tree 'knows' that after the solstice the day s will get shorter and it going to get cold sooner or later. it has to prepare for winter and may not get it in time. So many tree will just build buds for next year and refrain form a new flush. The tree will suffer from this, some will die, some will take years to recover. Defoliation is a SEVERE weakening method and can possibly kill a tree,.
 

Walter Pall

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Walter, I think the BEST thing I ever heard you say is this about "You Must do Everything like I do", or you won't get the same results.
That was in regards to Soil, Watering, Feeding,.....
Which I don't think we do equal to begin with.

But I know you also keep Much more root at repotting than we are taught.

I think this adds up to this....


But we don't see it because we lack in the rest of the ...ahem...careas. Care Areas!

Do you have any photos of the growth you get before cutback?

Sorce
this is what it looks like. mind you, this is the big drawback of the method. The tree will look untidy for most of the season.TSB_0113w.jpgTSB_0138w.jpgTSB_0086w.jpgTSB_0091w.jpgTSB_0229w.jpg
 

leatherback

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Because of the nature of the beast. The tree 'knows' that after the solstice the day s will get shorter and it going to get cold sooner or later. it has to prepare for winter and may not get it in time. So many tree will just build buds for next year and refrain form a new flush. The tree will suffer from this, some will die, some will take years to recover. Defoliation is a SEVERE weakening method and can possibly kill a tree,.
Yeah, learned this on a carpinus last year. Defoliated in late june. The tree was not strong enough and just sat there, bare, for 9 months. Then this march, fortunately, it jumped to life and grew 4 inches in a week. Relief! Then it pauzed, and I only trimmed it lightly this year. Now it is growing all over and I had to thin the crown.
 

Paulpash

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I apologize for missing 8 words in post #91 of 173 posts in this 9 page thread. I’ll try to be more careful.
This is for your convenience in future but you can do a search of key words just in this thread. The original article Walter wrote is also easily available using Google - it explains things (with pictures) in even greater detail there. Nice progression pics on a multi trunked maple.
 
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OK it seems we have to clarify a few things here...
much appreciated post thank you! I had read it all before here and there, but things clicked for me more this time! I look forward to applying it this method

Thank you!
 

Cable

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This is for your convenience in future but you can do a search of key words just in this thread. The original article Walter wrote is also easily available using Google - it explains things (with pictures) in even greater detail there. Nice progression pics on a multi trunked maple.
This is for your convenience but in the future but you can fuck off in any thread.

A) I simply missed him saying that, especially since the post I was looking at explained everything else.
B) I *linked* to the original article in this thread. Maybe you should use the search feature to realize that. It was also written six years ago and sometimes advice changes.
C) For people reading this thread it is helpful to have all of the information in one spot
 

Paulpash

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This is for your convenience but in the future but you can fuck off in any thread.

A) I simply missed him saying that, especially since the post I was looking at explained everything else.
B) I *linked* to the original article in this thread. Maybe you should use the search feature to realize that. It was also written six years ago and sometimes advice changes.
C) For people reading this thread it is helpful to have all of the information in one spot
Omg I was trying to help you & save you time. Shocked isn't the word. That's cool mate, you'll never hear from me again.
 

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