This shohin size boxwood has had plenty of time to harden off spring growth and gain strength and energy from those fresh leaves.
The goal for today is to clean out the structure of old and unnecessary leaves and cut that spring growth back to one or two pairs of leaves. These steps will allow more light to reach the inner branches and set the tree up to set strong buds for the next round of growth.
Above is an example of a branch with far too many extra leaves. Plucking leaves from the old wood areas and from the base where new branches emerge will allow more light and reveal the branch structure. The same branch is shown below after plucking.
We often hear that we should remove branches that are growing down, but with the dense leaf growth of boxwood, I also like to remove individual leaves growing off the bottom of branches.
Compare the image above with the ‘after’ image below. Those leaves were less efficient by being shadowed under the branch, and removing them really cleans up the presentation of the branch.
I’m not making any big cuts or doing any wiring today, but these same steps should be done before either of these procedures. This will allow clear visibility of the branch structure, so choices can be made in removing branches, and provide a space to transition wire at the crotches.
After some careful leaf plucking on the whole tree, I prune off several leaf pairs from each branch of new growth making sure that the last pair or two of leaves left behind are from this season’s growth. This is usually easy to determine as the stems of the current year’s growth will be green while last year’s growth will show some lignification.
That’ll do. Now it’s back on the bench.