Refining and repotting a magnolia (“モクレン”)

Magnolias are ubiquitous in gardens world wide. They mark the top of winter with a spectacular bloom, adorning landscapes in each vivid and subdued tones. My household residence has a big magnolia that reliably graced us with lovely blooms annually whereas offering a cool shaded understory through the scorching summer season months. They’re amongst my favourite broadleaf deciduous species and I’m completely happy to have the ability to develop one throughout my apprenticeship right here. Lets get to enterprise. For starters the tree:

First to make clear, that is magnolia liliiflora identified by モクレン “mokuren” right here in Japan. The flowers are massive, and so are the leaves. However it’s my most popular selection over smaller leafed varieties like star magnolia. Liliiflora has a clean cream to white colour bark that contrasts strongly with the massive and sometimes vibrant flowers. Regardless of having smaller leaves, the star magnolia has a extra subdued bark and fewer putting flowers. Magnolias are appreciated for his or her winter silhouette, lovely bark, and flowers and for these causes I like liliiflora extra. Here’s a mokuren displayed throughout this years Kokufu. I’m advised by Oyakata that it’s presumably the very best mokuren in Japan:

Again to the tree:

nearer look
view from the facet
proper chop the place scar is therapeutic
facet profile of apex, sooner or later I wish to take away the thick department within the entrance

From these set of pictures there are few issues which can be apparent. The presence of a giant scar, and a very thick department/bulge. Since we admire magnolias for his or her bark we must always goal to encourage wholesome callous formation to acquire a seamless trunk. To protect the taper and type of the tree, we have to take away thick branches/bulges however this additionally introduces new doubtlessly massive scars. With the intention to guarantee good callous formation and with some recommendation from my senpai I made a decision to solely make one main minimize. The opposite branches would stay as “sacrifices” whose collective foliage mass would assist heal the injuries. If I did all main cuts without delay the prevailing quantity of branches and produced foliage might not be adequate to heal the injuries. To take action I must permit a number of the current effective branching run and develop thick which might introduce extra imbalances to be corrected sooner or later.

With this in thoughts I made a decision my “main” minimize needs to be the bulge behind the tree:

This might be minimize, introducing a giant scar. However the massive branches above it in addition to branches instant to the wound would support in callous formation. Whereas the two thicker branches to the best in the end might be eliminated, the wound created by chopping these branches could be smaller and simpler to heal, so in the meanwhile the bulge is prioritized.

There are some issues with this plan. Since one among my sacrifice branches (department no 1) is connected on to my apex, permitting this department to get too thick can injury the taper of the tree in addition to create one other future massive wound website once I take away it. Due to this I wish to distribute the sacrifice department burden throughout a number of branches. As quickly as department 1 begins to get too thick it will likely be minimize. Department 2 will take over as the primary sacrifice and might be allowed to run as a lot as attainable with out overly compromising the tree’s design. Conveniently there’s a small again department instant to the wound which I anticipate to offer a lot of callous formation. There are extra branches and buds at this base to interchange the again shoot when it turns into too thick as a sacrifice as effectively. This multi-staged plan will assist me keep away from creating new massive wounds whereas preserving the taper of the tree.

minimize and carved

A slight melancholy is carved into the wound in order that when it heals over it’s flat with out a substantial bulge. If the cambium is ragged after carving, use a grafting knife to chop cleanly throughout the complete edge. Sadly the heartwood on this tree was barely smooth. I wouldn’t say rotted or punky however after debating for awhile I gave in and determined to carve out the darkish wooden as effectively. I crammed it with a fake wooden filler, stuff you could find at residence depot for broken furnishings, voids in wooden, and many others. My transient expertise with it’s that it takes a very long time to dry and harden, particularly if there may be any moisture content material within the wooden. I might not suggest it for filling massive wounds, wherein case cement or a tough epoxy is perhaps extra appropriate. I’ll report again later within the rising season if it holds up.

It’s time to examine the opposite wound and if the callous must be recut. Sadly I found that the wooden at this website was not simply darkish however really rotted. I carved out all of the smooth wooden and in addition painted lime sulfur on the deadwood to discourage future rot or fungal formation. Lime sulfur is unhealthy and damaging to cambium so if in case you have any open cuts care to not unfold it there.

again facet callous, after eradicating minimize paste I found rot
I started filling within the fake wooden paste. On account of my points with it drying I added it in layers permitting one layer to dry earlier than filling in additional
sealed up. Not photographed however later the cambium was recut and minimize putty was unfold over the wound

The tree was really repotted previous to doing all this work, however because the repotting season turned out to be fairly busy I wasn’t afforded time to convey out my digicam and take good photographs. As such I’ve depicted a primary overview of how we repot some deciduous timber right here and the way I did this tree specifically. Throughout my days as a hobbyist I used a fork I bent in half and take out chopsticks as my sole repotting instruments. I might do issues a bit in a different way now. After my first repotting season I’m starting to grasp how nuanced repotting will be and the way vital it’s to correctly repot timber so not solely an aesthetic, however horticulturally functioning and wholesome root will be shaped. I hope to make some correct posts on this sooner or later, however for now here’s a primary overview.

My new web site template is giving points growing picture measurement however if you happen to proper click on and open the picture in a brand new window, you’ll be able to see the complete decision.

With the basis system and scars set for the rising season forward it was time to see if we might enhance the silhouette or tackle construction issues.

revisiting the tree

I wish to create as many effective branches as attainable whereas minimizing muddle and the formation of bulges. On the left facet of the tree there may be an apparent density of branches originating from the identical spot. The small lowest proper department is crossing and form of interfering with the branches above it as effectively.

To start with I eliminated one thick department from this node. Whereas the effective twigging on it added to the silhouette it was creating muddle between the opposite twigging and in the end will develop to turn out to be an issue space with so many branches originating from the identical spot.

small backside proper department minimize as effectively

Feels significantly better and fewer cluttered. My second concern was probably the most ahead department from that very same junction. I felt that there have been nonetheless too many branches from the identical node and that whereas eradicating this department would impression the timber present silhouette, branching and ramification from the department behind it might simply fill the house.


To compensate I placed on some aluminum wire and introduced the department behind it ahead. The small twig on the base will develop and fill within the house behind it.

For now the work is finished. The sacrifices might be allowed to run and I’ll test on callous formation over the rising season. Progress might be managed on the smaller branches and presumably in the reduction of to protect the effective branching wanted for the ultimate design. Magnolias won’t ever have tremendous effective ramification and branching so this tree might be styled in a looser “flame” like type just like quite a lot of ginkgos and stewartias. I’m excited to develop this tree and can put up progress updates sooner or later.

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