Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eugenia (Brush Cherry)- Lollypop to broom.

This is a Eugenia I got from a friend -it was grown as a lollipop tree:
 April 2009
 I selected a trunk line and cut of all the other branches except the the one going to the left where the trunk bend for the first time. This left me with nice taper but not so nice C-shape trunk in the crown of the tree. The tree responded well to the cut back and it left me with a lot of branches/twigs to play with.

10 months later and I've decided(sort off) on a front.
November 2009:
These trees are incredible growers and very hardy. They can almost not be killed.

I have replanted it into a shallower "growth box". I have wired the branches and I worked on the ramification and leaf reduction. I've found that by pinching and partial defoliatiion the leaves reduce nicely. That's why the branches are quite bare now. I want to grow two new lower branches- that's what you see lower down. The yellow arrow indicate the only branch that i have not cut off.
I'm also leaving a very low growth to help building the taper of the nebari- luckily there is some flare there.

From the top:
The nebari:

I have added some soil around the base to help build the nebari - I really needed some roots there!
June 2010

 I have defoliated the tree to concentrate the growth into the new lower branches and also to get some backbuds growing in the center  of some of the branches. The defoliating will also add to leaf reduction.

 October 2010. I have replanted the tree into a bonsai pot and it has taken it quite well. The new lower branches is thickening quickly. There is a bud that has started to grow lower down and I am going to let it grow to help build the base.

I have defoliated the tree again in February.

 From the time I have partially defoliated the tree in February I tried my best to get the leaves as small as possible and I think I am winning:

After the defoliation I pinched after the next two "true" leaves and cut the leaves back close to the stalk. After this I am starting to get the very small leaves which normally shows as bumps/eyes/buds before the "true" leaves. I pinch again just after the small leafs. When I get too big leaves I cut them back to the stalks. I believe by keeping this up I will get the needed leaf reduction to make the tree look believable.

This has become one of my favorite trees. Due to regular pinching and defoliation I got too much ramification and the branch structure was hidden by all the foliage. It started to look like a real lollipop tree. I did some heavy thinning of the branches as well as wiring some of the branches. I am also trying to pull the second branch from the bottom on the right hand side a little bit lower.

I was very pleased with the end result - sadly enough a photo can not show the branch structure and depth of the tree.

There is also some buds visible lower down that I am going to use to build the nebari further. The compost you see covering the nebari is horse stable manure - next season I am not going to use it on the tree because it leads to too much growth.

Slightly from above:

If everything goes well I am going to show the tree in a regional contest in September.

I have shown the tree at the TOP TEN competition.....but it did not achieve the honor of being chosen as one of the top ten trees in it's class:

 Viewed slightly from above:

The tree looks much more natural looking at it this way. Maybe bending down the outer twigs will be an good idea.

I still need to develop the nebari and I think the second and third branch on the left will have to be lowered a bit.

Because we only had one growing month to get the tree ready for the show the leaf reduction process did not take place. Oh well, there will be another chance!

November 2012.

I have defoliated the tree again to see what is going on with the branch/twig structure:

 It took me more than three hours to defoliate the tree. After defoliation I was pondering on the idea of making the pads less "flat" like Walter Pall style his maples.
 My biggest concern with this is that it may let my tree look like a Lollypop tree. These trees are evergreen - if I want to show the branch and twiggy structure I will have to defoliate the tree for viewing or for a show.

There is an open space between the lowest left hand branch and after all the years I got a bud going!

The twig will become a new branch that will fill in that open space. I have cleaned up the growth and bended some secondary branches up and some down. The leaf reduction process will begin now as the tree buds out again.

February 2014:

After defoliation:

The pads are very flat and I decided to put in some up and down movement into the secondary branches:

A close up of one of the branches:

Still not very happy!

I am thinking of regrowing the branches in the crown?

Will see next growing season.