Do you ever have those moments when you learn something new and want to run right out to the garden to apply it? I finally got around to listening to the Asymmetry podcast with Dennis Vojtilla. If you have deciduous bonsai you should give it a listen! Dennis is a deciduous genius and he shares several concrete tips in his interview with Ryan Neil of Bonsai Mirai. Listening made me realize I have several deciduous trees that are due to be cut back.
The one I was able to tend to this evening is a very young plant, so it is hardly a refined specimen, but I thought I’d share it nonetheless.
This Korean Hornbeam, Carpinus coreana, was given to me by Steve Miller as a 2-3 year old seedling a couple of years ago. I guess that makes it only 5 years old. Even in this small pot, it is growing well and is definitely due to be cut back. Today I am cutting back to two leaves on each new branch.
If you listen to the podcast referenced above, you will hear Dennis recommend cutting back to one, but I am going to assume he is talking about trees that are far more refined than this!
Cutting back this hard after letting the branches harden off, as I have, should result in buds at the base of (hopefully) both of the remaining leaves push out. This will mean twice as many branches which will, over time, create a nice full tree.
You can see that the pile on the left now has far more leaves than the tree, but I am confident the tree will grow well and be just as strong in a few weeks.
I’m not too concerned about the design at this early stage of development, but I might be tempted to repot it to the angle shown below next spring. What do you think?