On the 11th June 2016 I defoliated this tree left some leaves on the branch whips I wanted to keep and grow to thicken. As you can see it was packed with branches:
And here it is the before and after from the top and front:
On the 20th December 2016 I cut back the growth to two, thread grafted a branch toward the top of the tree and cut off the large branch on the right that was inside of a curve. I also cut back the sister trunk.
On the 11th March 2017 the tree was repotted:
I’m going to grow out the first right branch this year to thicken the trunk below it.
So i cut back most of the growth to better placed buds closer to the trunk. I will cut back the lower branches more and the parent thread grafts in spring once I see the growth:
Here is a closeup of the grafts that have taken nicely. You can also see the one that did not take as it was shaded out over the growing season (the parent branches still have a bit of wire on them):
And my goal for this tree. A few options with how the apex will end up. I think I may reduce the top to fix the scare but not sure yet (pic 3):
This tree was tidied up for the Alabama club show in May, and left to grow until mid-August, when I trimmed it up again in preparation for the fall growth spurt.
Look at those strong runners. Left alone, they’ll keep running, and the interior growth will weaken. We want to push foliage back to the trunk, and always work to tighten up the design. Start with removing the running shoots, with scissors, like this.