Tree branching question - Fukien Tea

Forbes

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I bought a Fukien Tea tree a few months back and it seems to be doing pretty well and flowering regularly, but from some pictures i have seen, they develop finer branch structures off of the main branches. I was wondering how long this may take, or if it is where the leaf buds are that will eventually form the branches? As of now, it just seems to have leaves budding right off of the main branches with no real sign of finer branches growing out. Any ideas? perhaps patience is what i need to learn the most of...?

I wasn't sure if this should be placed in another forum location, so if it should, Admin's please feel free to move, or let me know and i'll move it if i can.

Thank you all...
 

Bill S

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Forbes, welcome to the nut house, typically you need to do some pinching and pruning to get the secondary branching, without it many branches just keep growing straight out.

As to how long it takes, well it depends on the type of tree, and proper pruning and health. Some trees will only provide one push of growth a year, so each secondary branch will be a year in developement.
 
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rockm

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"I was wondering how long this may take, or if it is where the leaf buds are that will eventually form the branches? "

Branch training in bonsai is a matter of unrestricted growth, followed by extreme pruning (which forces new buds behind the cut to open, which leads to "ramification" or new finer, side branching) followed by more unrestricted growth, followed by more extreme pruning, allowing a bit of extension past the old pruning site. This "builds" branches into a believable miniaturized form.

The tree will not push as many new buds without hard pruning. In other words, the tree isn't going to form branches by itself, at least it won't form branches that are useful for bonsai training. Left alone, it will send out mostly growth that is useless for bonsai --in the wrong places, lanky and long.
 

Justin.

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So I've been pondering the same question. By pruning the leaves off the main branches. It causes smaller branches to grow in its place? Can someone dumb this down for me?
 

Forbes

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thanks for the advice guys, and that post does help. I was also able to track down the former president of a local bonsai club who was active for many years. He has been very helpful with some suggestions for my Fukien and Chinese Elm trees both.
 

rockm

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"By pruning the leaves off the main branches It causes smaller branches to grow in its place? Can someone dumb this down for me? "

Not really, because it's not really that simple.

The simplest thing to remember about increasing branching is hard pruning (not leaf pruning). By cutting into woody parts of the tree and removing the end third, half or three quarters of a branch, you cut off buds that would have been "told" by the tree to "grow". By removing those buds on the woody branch - the part you cut off--(this doesn't work on soft green flexible shoots) you stimulate the plant to tell the buds still on the uncut part of the branch to extend. In other words, the hormones the plant sends to the buds you removed wind up going to the "resting buds" on the remaining branch.

There are "resting buds" all over a DECIDUOUS tree's bark waiting to be told to extend by hormones secreted by the tree's circulatory system. This is true of pines also, but they don't respond to hard pruning in the same way. If you remove all the green growth fron a conifer's branch, the branch will die..On a deciduous tree--or tropical tree--hard pruning of woody growth forces those resting buds to open and extend.

One hard pruning will produce new shoots, which can be left to grow until they develop woody tissue. In turn those shoots can be pruned back to produce additional backbudding along their uncut portions. This process can be done repeatedly until a network of fine branching is developed.

Leaf cutting can be used to develop finer twigging also, but it is usually reserved for trees that are almost complete in their development. Leaf pruning a branchless tree is mostly useless as the finer twigs that may develop have no network of branching to rest on. Such a tree winds up looking a little thin and odd.
 

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