Underdogs Hinoki Challenger

Underdog

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Three years into this hobby and this is my nemesis tree. I feel it's turning the corner but I'm not driving...
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis'
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Underdog

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My Hinoki has been the most challenging tree for me to get a grip on, Three full seasons and this is the best it’s ever looked in my care. LOL Sickly when received in 2016, I think it was much better off without me.
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I fluffed up the edges and bottom and slipped into a similar sized container back filling with a sifted oil dry and potting soil mix. Thinking I was being gentle and only trimming dead branches and folage I watched it slowly decline through 2016
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Underdog

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It continued it's decline all thru 2916
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Didn't even make a good Charley Brown Christmas Tree.
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Early (maybe too early) 2017 I felt I had to try something else and for better or worse I thinned out and rinsed the unhealthy roots and put into a box of primarily oil dry with some lava and bark only to watch it’s steady decline further.
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Underdog

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Late summer 2017 beggng for help... More water. less water... no matterIMG_20170805_080811769.jpgIMG_20170805_080728875.jpg
At the end of 2017, I believe on Grimmys advice I added a healthy dose of Canadian sphagnum and chop sticked it into the mix.
 

Underdog

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I pretty much ignored it throughout 2018 only watering and fertilizing while watching it green up and look perky. Probably should just give it a couple years but I had to have a second go at wiring in the long lanky branches. I killed the last couple I wired…

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Underdog

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I used a tip from Jer Norberry applying elastic tape/bandage to the branches prior to wiring. It felt much better bending with this applied. Never had/tried raffia, but tried a branch without and felt some cracking. Stopped, unwired and bought this elastic tape and

Could really feel the support given. While I’d like to have put more bends into it, and it felt like it would take it, I have no branches to loose at this point. I only hope these survive for now and maybe next year… I left the wild errant branch alone as it looks very weak.

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Underdog

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I don't think I can call this a progression thread, maybe regression... but I'm learning and trying. Showing my work as they say...
I think a summer repot in my next move if it continues to improve next season and the main reason I wanted some wire on it this fall. I always welcome advice and suggestions. Thanks
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TomB

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Looks like there's at least some healthy growth on it, which is good.
I wouldn't repot next summer - or at all in fact. It sounds like you have it in a usable soil mix, and the box hasn't fallen apart yet. Unless it's totally full of roots (which seems unlikely) then I would just leave it to grow in that. More work will set it back.
 

Vance Wood

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You should do some research and determine how to cut back the current years growth. If you don't, it will continue to grow away from what I think are your intentions.
 

Underdog

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then I would just leave it to grow in that. More work will set it back.
I agree. It's still draining well. Thanks
You should do some research and determine how to cut back the current years growth. If you don't, it will continue to grow away from what I think are your intentions.
Thanks Vance, I have read tons of info including your posts and your dancing lady and other Hinoki topics. Believe it or not I've only removed dead stuff usually with my fingers. I have not worked on any new growth in fear of loosing anything else. I'll do some more homework over the winter about this as it will hopefully need it next year. Thanks
Honestly, I would just get yourself another hinoki, and this time, don't prune any of the small foliage close to the trunk.
I have thought about another but this one has given me so much grief... I didn't cut the inner foliage. It's self pruned. Those stubs were already dead. Thanks

Thanks for taking the time to reply on my problem child. I know I've not done so well here and appreciate the constructive criticism. I know it would be easier to say "burn it" you ruined it dumazz..."
 

TomB

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For comparison, this is a Hinoki I really like styled by a UK grower. It resembles a mature Scots pine.



If you manage your remaining branches, and especially top growth, carefully, then I'm guessing you could have something in this general shape in 10 years or so. Using drop branches in the styling obviously.

Just something to think about as an alternative to burning.
 

Lazylightningny

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For comparison, this is a Hinoki I really like styled by a UK grower. It resembles a mature Scots pine.



If you manage your remaining branches, and especially top growth, carefully, then I'm guessing you could have something in this general shape in 10 years or so. Using drop branches in the styling obviously.

Just something to think about as an alternative to burning.
That's a beauty. Do you know this tree, or did you pull it off the internet?
 

Aaronkslater

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looking at the pictures of the tree when received I think you have done ok. Looks to me like half the foliage was dead when you got this. when foliage looks yellowish like that its been my experience that it is already dead, no coming back. I would also suggest getting another hinoki, just so you have something to compare it to. I think it is hard to really learn about a species with just one example, with three you can experiment on one and compare it to the others and when one is sick, you can tell it is just a problem with the individual and not a idiosyncrasy of the entire species.

your tree is growing well for the first time. don't repot yet! I wouldn't have styled, but, it'll prob. be fine. Some of the best trees come out of material that almost died like this... look for the posibilities in what you have left.

I love hinoki!
 

Underdog

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your tree is growing well for the first time. don't repot yet! I wouldn't have styled, but, it'll prob. be fine. Some of the best trees come out of material that almost died like this... look for the posibilities in what you have left.

I love hinoki!
I know I probably shouldn't have wired it. I was gentle and felt the need to bend the elbows of the cheerleader holding the pompoms. Leaving it alone for the last year was the best thing for it. I just get so frustrated walking by it that I felt I needed to do something to improve this pig and give me a reason to keep it around. It's unlike;y to ever amount to much I'm sure but I just try to do the best with what I have. Hands off next year again.
Thanks
 

petegreg

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I agree with all written here, no repoting, pinching to chase the foliage back (but no if the branches are bandaged) ... you've improved its health.
The solution for this tree could be making a smaller tree plus getting some new trees if you air-layer branches. Or?
Have a look at this blog post, approach grafting of its own branches could make a new good start for this tree.
 

mark_g

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My two cents for this tree.. Styling wise i can see a really nice literati in there.. 3 middle branch. As for care. Do not repot until the tree is really healthy. From what i see on your last photos its improving. You should apply fungicide before winter and spring. Also from my experience.. They like foliar fertilizer.
 
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