I know I'm not supposed to touch my <2mo old yamadoris' growth but...

SU2

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#1
I've got two bougainvillea yamadori's, collected 1 and 1.5mo ago, and they're just exploding with growth - the problem (as my amateur eyes see it, at least) is that it's just like 30+ shoots per plant growing (almost entirely) straight upwards. I've started gently interfering in two ways...first, seeing as how the idea is for these shoots to become strong primary branches at some point, it seems inefficient to me to just let them grow straight upwards right now, only to later try and use copper to alter lines. To help fix this (perceived)problem, I've done something that I'm pretty sure goes against conventional wisdom, in that I made 'ornaments' for many (~15%) of the shoots, these ornaments are just thin 30g galvanized wire wrapped around a small rock and then hung from a branch, effectively pulling the branches into angles of my choosing (some to go with the cuts of the yamadori, some to make horizontal branches lower on the trunk, etc etc) Is there anything wrong with this that I'm not seeing? Would hate to be making a mistake, but every way I look at it I feel the mistake is in letting these baby-branches lignify into undesirable shapes when it's so incredibly easy to shape them when they're fresh&supple, so much less work bending + quicker results + more finite control.

Another thing that I commonly see recommended-against is to do any pruning to freshly harvested yamadori, to let them grow a season or two before even thinking of touching them. I know they need lots of green to be strong and grow right now, *but* I've done a handful of pinches to some of the shoots (literally just pinching the very tip of the shoot, the tiny little tip only!) which, naturally, has caused those shoots to now be thin branches with multiple shoots coming from the nodes further down the shoot. I'm certainly not saying I'd remove any significant amount of green from these plants, but if I pinch the tips of all my fresh shoots when they're ~8" long with 4 nodes down-shoot that they'll back-bud from, and *then* adhere to the 'leave it for the season/two seasons' mantra, I'll have far more branches than I'd have otherwise had! I've heard arguments to this thinking that are along the lines of 'you'll get more thickness letting it get longer' but this method only slows growth for the shortest of periods, right away the pinched branch is back in growth so any 'losses of growth', and the corresponding girth, seem entirely insignificant IMO.

Any thoughts on my two departures would be greatly appreciated! Right now I've only pinched the tips of like 5 shoots between the two plants, and I've got 'ornaments' bending about 10-15 shoots between both stumps, but am thinking of doing this to much more ie continue using ornaments to direct any growth I think is in the wrong way, and to pinch the tips of most of the shoots so that, at the end of the first growing season, I have like 4x as many branch tips as I otherwise would have - ramification and taper are hugely important and I feel like these are very useful starting-steps towards them on a yamadori's first growths!

(pics attached are of them before I started using 'the ornaments' to weigh-down some branches!)

19700306_040544.jpg 19700306_040631.jpg
 

rockm

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#5
DON'T mess with the tree. STOP pinching it. You're not helping anything and slowing root growth. Your plant is also getting too much sun. The leaves are burned. That is because it doesn't have much root mass to move water to them.

The growth now IS NOT THE GROWTH YOU WILL USE TO DESIGN THE TREE. It is sacrifice growth that will be removed after the tree has recovered.
 

Dav4

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#7
DON'T mess with the tree. STOP pinching it. You're not helping anything and slowing root growth. Your plant is also getting too much sun. The leaves are burned. That is because it doesn't have much root mass to move water to them.

The growth now IS NOT THE GROWTH YOU WILL USE TO DESIGN THE TREE. It is sacrifice growth that will be removed after the tree has recovered.
To add to this, when you pinch the growing tips on any tree, you significantly slow down or stop root growth entirely. Your tree is trying to overcome a significant and potentially life threatening insult to the root system and pinching it now is essentially keeping it from recovering. Bougainvillea are vigorous when healthy, but can still be killed if not treated appropriately... let them grow!!!
 

SU2

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#9
DON'T mess with the tree. STOP pinching it. You're not helping anything and slowing root growth. Your plant is also getting too much sun. The leaves are burned. That is because it doesn't have much root mass to move water to them.

The growth now IS NOT THE GROWTH YOU WILL USE TO DESIGN THE TREE. It is sacrifice growth that will be removed after the tree has recovered.
You're meaning to say that I'll get much more flushes of buds on that trunk, to the point that the current shoots aren't likely to contain my future primary branches?? I've never grown-out a yamadori like this before but am having trouble imagining that all the growth that's come out will be sacrificed, do you just mean 'some'?

Re too much sun, unfortunately I cannot move them so I'd been watching them and contemplating putting screens up (anchored off the sides of the boxes) but after weeks of watching them and seeing them grow so fast (they're the fastest growing bougies I have and I've got 4 others!) that I decided against it....you've got me re-thinking that now, especially with summer coming so quickly!
 

SU2

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#10
I cringe when I read such a statement.:(;):D:D:D:D
Why on earth would anyone have any negative feelings towards doing something more efficiently? After just ~1 day of having those 'rock ornaments' hanging from some selected branches, I can remove the ornaments and some bending has already been achieved, I don't think that's very surprising considering how supple the shoots in question are and directing their shape (particularly/almost exclusively in terms of the angles they leave the trunk) Will make later carving and tapering in general much simpler if I'm choosing the lines as they grow!
 

just.wing.it

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#11
Why on earth would anyone have any negative feelings towards doing something more efficiently? After just ~1 day of having those 'rock ornaments' hanging from some selected branches, I can remove the ornaments and some bending has already been achieved, I don't think that's very surprising considering how supple the shoots in question are and directing their shape (particularly/almost exclusively in terms of the angles they leave the trunk) Will make later carving and tapering in general much simpler if I'm choosing the lines as they grow!
I think his point is that there is nothing quick about bonsai...and is more in reference to pinching too soon.
 

Dav4

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#13
Why on earth would anyone have any negative feelings towards doing something more efficiently? After just ~1 day of having those 'rock ornaments' hanging from some selected branches, I can remove the ornaments and some bending has already been achieved, I don't think that's very surprising considering how supple the shoots in question are and directing their shape (particularly/almost exclusively in terms of the angles they leave the trunk) Will make later carving and tapering in general much simpler if I'm choosing the lines as they grow!
Quit screwing around with them and just let them grow. Even hanging ornaments on the extending shoots will sap much needed energy from the tree. Just water and ferts this year, seriously.
 

rockm

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#14
You're meaning to say that I'll get much more flushes of buds on that trunk, to the point that the current shoots aren't likely to contain my future primary branches?? I've never grown-out a yamadori like this before but am having trouble imagining that all the growth that's come out will be sacrificed, do you just mean 'some'?

Re too much sun, unfortunately I cannot move them so I'd been watching them and contemplating putting screens up (anchored off the sides of the boxes) but after weeks of watching them and seeing them grow so fast (they're the fastest growing bougies I have and I've got 4 others!) that I decided against it....you've got me re-thinking that now, especially with summer coming so quickly!
You will get more, just like these, but worrying about that is two years down the road. This growth eventually (like in a couple of years) will be removed partially or completely and a new set of branching will be used for the design of the tree. In bonsai, leaves are temporary, branching is largely a process of hard pruning, the trunk is the only thing that is permanent.

You have to think of this as a marathon, not a sprint. You are pushing it too hard and you will weaken it considerably with so much attention. Yamadori is largely a process of leaving it alone and doing small things over a period of years. The trunk is what you have to focus on now. Simply keeping it alive is the goal, the next is getting it strong enough to move on to the next step, which is beginning to build branches. This process can't really be rushed. Being overly concerned about ramification and such is putting the cart before the horse.

As for the sun, you had better get some sort of sunshade. Those leaves are already sun scorched. This will only get worse as the weather gets hotter.
 

GrimLore

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#15
I can affirm several things here and add one -
Stop pinching off growth and weighing down growth.
That plant will continue to toss new branches out and can withstand a heck of a cut back once established.
You WANT vegetative growth therefore let it go and produce the roots needed to support it.
Add -
To promote vegetative/root growth do not give it full sun as they normally like - full Southern exposure is always recommended for these BUT that is so they flower. Shaded a bit you will help the plant establish itself better.
They are different in a few ways collected but manageable as are most plants.
Don't ask advice and question it, follow it and you and the plant will be happier next year ;)

Grimmy
 

just.wing.it

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#19
Be aware that big stumps like this can contain a lot of stored energy and can fool you. The growth you are getting may be the tree running on fumes. If it is not also growing roots you will soon run out of gas.
This is very true!
Happened to me with a large stump that I tried to pot....shot out 35 new shoots to about 6-8 leaves each....then croaked.
Someone here said that they had a stump recovering for 3 years, then it crapped out, when unpotted, it had not grown a single root.
 

rockm

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#20
Be aware that big stumps like this can contain a lot of stored energy and can fool you. The growth you are getting may be the tree running on fumes. If it is not also growing roots you will soon run out of gas.
If this were anything but bougainvillea, I'd offer up that caution also. Bougainvillea roots pretty darn easily, even huge stumps. I don't think roots are a problem IF the top growth is left alone for a while.
http://wigertsbonsai.com/bougainvillea-development/