Fall cutback and wiring on stewartia

For the last few years I’ve but cutting back an old stewartia when the leaves turn brown in fall. The work is similar from year to year – a common occurrence for trees in the later stages of branch refinement (see “Fall cutback on stewartia” for last year’s post).

One thing that was different this year is that the branches are getting too long. To stimulate back buds, I wired more branches than usual as this will ensure that more light will reach the tree’s interior. The additional light will help the interior shoots gain strength which will let me further shorten the branches one or two years from now.

Here’s what the work looked like.

StewartiaStewartia

Stewartia monadelpha

Winter silhouetteWinter silhouette

After removing the leaves

After cutback and wiringAfter cutback and wiring

After cutback and wiring – 33″

You’ll notice I used several guy wires to lower the branches. I did this for two reasons. Most importantly, some branches were too large to bend with wire which meant guy wires were the only option for lowering them.

The second reason for preferring guy wires is that I want to avoid creating wire scars. Guy wires rely on a single point of contact with a branch whereas wires that coil around branches create far more opportunities for the wire to bite in when the tree is growing quickly.

I plan to check the wires frequently in spring and will remove wires when I see them start to cut in. In the meantime, I can let the tree rest over winter as it doesn’t need repotting this year.

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