Posts tagged “yew

Japanese Yew Second Flush

This tree is starting to show good balanced growth. Compared to the spring image the second flush is more compact, with more buds. It will be wired when the new growth hardens off.

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Pinching Japanese Yew

Yew are pinched in the spring to balance the energy of the tree. If they are not pinched, the outer growth will become coarse and the inner growth weaker. Pinching helps maintain or develop finer branching. Yews are not pinched to promote backbudding – they don’t need any encouragement to do that (if anything, they produce too many buds).

Whole-tree pinching as shown here should not be done on trees in development! It is counterproductive to weaken the tree when you are trying to build a foliage mass and grow out branches. I’ve been developing this tree from nursery stock since 2006 and this is the first time I have pinched the whole tree.The last six or so years have been spent developing the roots and basic branch structure.

This is also the first year in which I have held back on heavy spring fertilization – I just gave a little bit of mild organic (chicken manure) to help it bounce back from the pinching. I am not planning on fertilizing it again until late summer/early fall, once everything has hardened off. Too much fertilizer will make the second flush too vigorous. Bud selection and wiring will also happen in late summer/fall.

    The lovely colour of spring yew shoots are just as stunning as some flowering trees, in my opinion. But they've gotta go!

The lovely colour of spring yew shoots are just as stunning as some flowering trees, in my opinion. But they’ve gotta go!

    After pinching. Everything was pinched - even the tiny little buds that barely opened. I left a few basal needles of the pinched shoots, as per Ryan Neil's advice in a youtube video.

After pinching. Everything was pinched – even the tiny little buds that barely opened. I left a few basal needles of the pinched shoots, as per Ryan Neil’s advice in a youtube video.

This tree does still need some branch development, but nothing major. It is often helpful to look at a tree from above to see design weaknesses. Most trees should have a pretty rounded crown when viewed from above. This tree has some noticeable gaps, but they should fill in pretty soon.

Gaps from above show the immaturity of the crown.

Gaps from above show the immaturity of the crown.


Taxus cuspidata ‘nana’ Planting Angle Adjustment

The main purpose of this repot was not horticultural, but rather to adjust the planting angle of this Dwarf Japanese Yew. It has been tough to get this tree at the right angle due to the presence of thick sections of downward growing trunk which I have been rather timidly chipping away at (the tree was developed as a ground layer). You can read more about the history of this tree in my progressions page. This tree has been slow to develop, largely due to the long period of time spent replacing the root system. It is finally at the point now where I can solely focus on its development as a bonsai. It does admittedly have a few years to go before it is show ready.

The tree last spring. The tree looks unstable at this angle, and the direction of the first branch is upward. This branch will be pulled down eventually, but correcting the planting angle will reduce the degree to which the branch has to be lowered.

The tree before repotting, propped up at the intended angle.

After grinding away some of the offending 'root' (which is actually a section of trunk from where the ground layer was separated). Yew develop fantastically dense fibrous root systems. It is important to really open them up during repotting so soil can be worked in. The final bits of original nursery clay were also hosed away.

The result. I believe that this is the best angle for this tree. It also went into an aged yamaaki pot which may look a bit small right now, but I think will be ideal when the intended silhouette of the tree is achieved.
This tree will not be repotted again for several years.