So here’s an update on one of the Boxelders I’m playing with. It’s got a very nice flush of spring growth. Some styling decisions and work need doing at this point in time. No surprise there. But that got me to thinking. Every tree we work on has to have its own design plan, whether we consciously think about it or not. Here’s a list of tasks that need doing now:

  • Trim back overlong branches
  • Trim or remove upward and/or downward pointing branches, or use them for directional changes
  • Wire and position branches and/or sub-branches as needed
  • Shorten new leader in order to build taper at the trunk chop transition point
Step one is to shorten overlong branches as needed. Here I’ve started that process, from the bottom of the tree upward.
Continuing upward, same thing.
Here I’ve wired and positioned branches, followed by shortening the leader. I took the leader back to two nodes. I’ll almost certainly get buds at both nodes, at which point I’ll take another internode off and use the one closest to the transition point for my new leader. This will help build taper and thicken the transition point.

Here’s a Winged elm, Ulmus alata, that I lifted from a field growing area back in January. While it’s not too well established yet, from a rooting perspective, it does have some shoots that need to be wired and positioned before they get too stiff the bend easily. So here’s the design plan for this specimen:

  • Remove unneeded shoots
  • Wire and position shoots that will be used in the design
  • Set the tree aside and let it grow until the wire needs removal; then,
  • Rewire and trim, as needed, developing branches
  • Remove trunk chop stub
  • Wire up new leader
  • Carve lower trunk chop used for directional change
This is all I can do today. Now it’s back to the bench for this specimen, and waiting for signs of wire cutting into branches. I expect that will happen as early as late next month.