It was unfortunate that I was forced to repot that tree at the time that I cut the trunk back because I'm sure that the heavy root pruning I did back then has slowed its development somewhat. Still it's grown a lot since I picked my new leader - the lower of the two options I discussed in that post. The thin flimsy leader has thickened substantially and now extends about three feet above the chop site. I also have a branch where there was little more than a bud when that post was written. This is what it looked like after a year of unrestrained growth.
|January 2017- before trim and wiring|
I won't even think about shortening that leader for at least another year as it's not thick enough yet. Besides I'd like to fatten up the trunk a bit more too.
When I brought it inside today, the photo above was all I had planned but on closer inspection I decided it was time to position the side branch properly while it's still young and flexible. At the same time I shortened the branch because, for now, my main focus is on thickening the leader. I don't want that branch to fatten up too much until I start developing other branches either because I'd hate it to grow out of proportion to the rest of the tree.
|Branch pruned and wired. The leader was left intact.|
Just when I thought that I was done I realised that I needed to clean away the moss growing up the base of the trunk. In so doing I discovered that the base is actually somewhat thicker than I realised. Rotating the tree I also found that the base looks better from what I thought was the back of the tree, while the rest of the tree doesn't really suffer from a change of front.
|New front. The section below the wire was hidden by the moss.|
I'll need to change the slant when I repot it because it's now leaning slightly backwards, but that's only a minor issue. I'll also have to remove the root marked with an arrow in the photo below.
|View of base from old and new fronts.|
As it's already late in the growing season I'm planning to leave dealing with both of those issues until spring when I'll probably move the tree into a bigger pot.
I've been battling with this tree for years now, but at last I feel like it's starting to show some promise. It still has a long way to go though.