Apex37

Shohin
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So I have a little cork bark JM that I picked up from Brent at Evergreen Gardenworks. I'm thinking it's going to need a trunk chop due to how far up the first branching starts. I'm not sure air-layering will provide much and not even sure I can do successfully with it being this young.
I've read early summer is a good time or early spring before it begins to leaf out. I just want to verify this is true or what is recommended. I imagine I want to do an angled cut and use cut paste to heal.
 

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RKMcGinnis

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Wherever you cut you’ll get a ton of leaders at that cut. I cut mine back in January. You’ll get back budding throughout the trunk leaving six inches of trunk. Then you can let it grow and then cut back to a back bud further down AFTER it has developed. Then you don’t have to manage all of those leaders at the tip of the initial cut. But that is still a small tree so you’d probably not have many leaders to have to manage. You’d probably be fine cutting now. Or try an air layer. This is the one I did in January. It is a cutting that is extremely vigorous. Hard to manage.
 

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Shibui

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Spring through to summer is OK for trunk chop on JM.
Just make sure there are viable nodes below the proposed chop site. Sometimes JM do not respond as well as expected. I would chop above the lowest leaf just to be sure. Chop like that will usually get dormant buds started lower if they are viable and you can chop further when they are stronger.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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This doesn’t need a chop, it needs to grow for a couple years first. Once it develops some momentum, it will start to back-bud lower down on the trunk. When you have some buds down low, you can safely cut back to them to shorten the trunk.
 

Tieball

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It needs to grow a lot more first before trunk chopping. You can chop while the trunk is thin like this but you’re setting back trunk development by several seasons.…if you’re looking for a thicker trunk.

I’d let it grow and thicken considerably. It looks like the trunk is only about 1/2” diameter. And keep in mind that the movement you see above right now will be chopped off….you’ll be left with around the bottom 6” or so. Visualize what you’ll have left. Letting the top continue to grow freely should help increase your tree's lower trunk diameter. Unless, this is about the trunk diameter you’re looking for.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Which year to trunk chop depends on what diameter trunk desired for the "finished" tree. Most recommend allowing rampant growth until the trunk is at least 75% of the diameter desired. I prefer to chop early summer, but my summer is VERY different from a Texas summer. My summer is more like your late winter.
 

Apex37

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When I thought I knew what I was doing, but don't obviously. The trunk chop idea came from watching Bill Valavanis video on YouTube about Maple development and he chops quite a few younger maples to just a stick. I was unaware of needing to wait till lower buds form I thought since maples are so a-typically dominant that was the best way to get it to start back budding. The maple is starting his second leafing out and everything has been up top so far. I don't mind waiting and letting him develop, just thought this was the best way to condense and all. Understood on it setting back trunk development.
 

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