Tilia cordata/small leaf lime/linden rebuild?

CptnGlyn

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Hi guys, end of last year I acquired one of these at a bargain price. I then sat staring at it over winter, before repotting it to check the roots over and change the planting angle and position slightly. However, the longer I sat looking at it, the more it appears that the branches are almost all too thick (mainly in the upper crown) and at some point in it’s life, previous management has resulted in a fair bit of lion’s-tailing.

Reading the linden section on bonsai4me, or in his book, Harry talks about ‘being ruthless and having to replace branches when they get too thick’. Has anyone had to do this? I’m considering a cut back to the trunk or very small stubs of basically every branch other than the lower two maybe, and rebuilding them from scratch but I’d love to hear some confidence boosting success stories before trying something that drastic... photo from the day I picked it up last year...18010711-2F75-4AFF-A2AD-36074F41F3E7.jpeg
 

CptnGlyn

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Here are a few more photos taken just now: it’s much easier to see the oversized branches here.
Not sure if the best thing to do is lose them all and hope for buds in good places, take out just the thick ones back to stubs and hope for regrowth from the branch stubs, or try and force back budding from some of the thinner branches before dealing with the thicker branches.
Anyone with any suggestions?

Cheers

Glyn
216A0F11-D6A1-4086-A09B-0552D7371641.jpegC7255578-0F3F-47A7-AA97-B5C5FE844CAA.jpeg80F4AC52-16A8-48B1-85B0-E9165A8F3568.jpegC8EE0406-E7CC-4E92-89ED-1C9C00505899.jpeg
 

Vali

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I wouldn't worry about new buds on a linden. I have one and it gets full of buds everywhere. There is a place on a subtrunk where it grew LOTS of branches, all lined up. It looked exactly like a mustache. If it is healthy, it should grow lots of buds. Probably there will be more in the spring. I would cut it back quite hard if it is healthy
 

CptnGlyn

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Yeah, mine has leafed out as expected, and there are some new buds popping up near the ends of the branches, but nothing further back along the branches or on the trunk at all. Maybe il leave it alone for this year and make sure it’s healthy before doing any drastic chops.
 

MrWunderful

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Personally, I would cut them all off in mid summer if its healthy and start from scratch. That branching is wonky.
 

sorce

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Bro got a bro.

Thread 'Design Ideas for Parrot Beak' https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/design-ideas-for-parrot-beak.50026/

My thoughts are as equal as the trees are.

Add....the thing Ryan Neil says about lindens ability to "compartmentalize" at its shoulders.

Though this matters to you in regards to how those shoulders may bud, of which I don't know, it can prove a useful start to your contemplation.

You have plenty of time for this contemplation.

Sorce
 

CptnGlyn

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Personally, I would cut them all off in mid summer if its healthy and start from scratch. That branching is wonky.
Yea I think following the bare rooting and soil replacement I carried out, I might give it the year to chill out and get back to full health?
 

CptnGlyn

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Bro got a bro.

Thread 'Design Ideas for Parrot Beak' https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/design-ideas-for-parrot-beak.50026/

My thoughts are as equal as the trees are.

Add....the thing Ryan Neil says about lindens ability to "compartmentalize" at its shoulders.

Though this matters to you in regards to how those shoulders may bud, of which I don't know, it can prove a useful start to your contemplation.

You have plenty of time for this contemplation.

Sorce
Man they are very similar! So you would consider layering the top out all together and hope that the lower section buds out following the removal? I’m struggling to find the Ryan Neil comment you referred to, any idea where it might be found (I’m sure il find it if I can devote a bit more time hunting)

Cheers
 

leatherback

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I would fertilize well this year. get that tree to grow; It does not look like it has grown all that much in recent years.
In winter trim back to stubs. Once you have budds opening you can remove the stubs.

They are very apex dominant, keep that in mind when removing lower branches: They will fatten up MUCH slower than the top
 

CptnGlyn

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I would fertilize well this year. get that tree to grow; It does not look like it has grown all that much in recent years.
In winter trim back to stubs. Once you have budds opening you can remove the stubs.

They are very apex dominant, keep that in mind when removing lower branches: They will fatten up MUCH slower than the top
Worth slip potting into something bigger for a couple of years; nursery can or colander or something for example?

Trim everything back to stubs or worth retaining the low branches?

As an arborist, I’ve done this sort of work to many full size trees, it’s funny how when it’s a miniature one (especially one that I own) my confidence that it will be ok has totally left me...
 

leatherback

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Worth slip potting into something bigger for a couple of years; nursery can or colander or something for example?
🤷‍♀️
I find it hard to judge why trees are weaker. I have a friend with many trees that are weak. I do not know why. Except for bad substrate, but he is using akadama, and I do not. So I am not sure whether it is normal for trees in akadama to always look weak.
 

sorce

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Ryan Neil comment

I think a bit more investigation may be in order, both for hort and design, on wether a layer would be good. I never got around to layering one, and without the want for an oak style tree, and not knowing really how well these will bud or take a graft, I'm on the fence there.

Perhaps @MACH5 will have some actual info..

Sorce
 

MrWunderful

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🤷‍♀️
So I am not sure whether it is normal for trees in akadama to always look weak.
Its not, unless you think of all the trees in Japan’s famous bonsai gardens like Kimura, Suzuki, etc. look weak. Oh and Ryan Neil, Jonas Dupuich, Bill Valvanis etc use akadama too. Their trees arent so bad 🤷🏼‍♂️
Good Soil cant cure bad horticulture, but good horticulture can overcome poor soil.
 

MrWunderful

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I think a bit more investigation may be in order, both for hort and design, on wether a layer would be good. I never got around to layering one, and without the want for an oak style tree, and not knowing really how well these will bud or take a graft, I'm on the fence there.

Perhaps @MACH5 will have some actual info..

Sorce
90875017-4252-4269-88D3-3DE946A02EFE.jpeg
The one I tried to airlayer came out with a picture perfect radial base.
 

leatherback

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Good Soil cant cure bad horticulture, but good horticulture can overcome poor soil.
I agree. The Kimura's of this world are excellent at horticulture, so their trees look good, and the mere mortals in bonsai need to ensure proper substrate. That is what you are saying right 🤪 ?
 

MrWunderful

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I agree. The Kimura's of this world are excellent at horticulture, so their trees look good, and the mere mortals in bonsai need to ensure proper substrate. That is what you are saying right 🤪 ?
I agree. If you have an amazing green thumb, your trees are healthy and vibrant, I’m not going to tell somebody what soil to use if they can get those to grow in sewer Muck -then more power to them.

However I personally feel, that if one has to ask, then one obviously isnt in the know and should go with the tools that will help you along horticulturally. Like A nice, open, in organic soil.
 

CptnGlyn

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Thanks to you all for your input. Earlier in the spring I repotted the tree in order to check the root system. It seemed healthy, I carried out some minor root pruning etc and I exchanged the organic soil it was in for a large grade 1:1:1 Akadama: lava: pumice mix.

Im not sure what kind of pruning/pinching regime it has previously been under so I can’t really comment on that.

I think the thing to do is to give it a year of free growth to recharge itself and get a good food store for winter. If it enters dormancy looking healthy I might take the whole thing back to stubs in the winter, hoping that in spring it will bud up like crazy and give me some good bud locations to select some branches. I’m still undecided about retaining some of the lower branches. Maybe il chop them, but leave them a few inches longer in the hopes of getting some buds out on them to give them a head start, thickness-wise...
 

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