Trees tend to want to grow taller and taller, wider and wider. In order to keep the growth in check and to ensure the foliage is close to the trunk and compact, one must continually pinch back new growth. When pinching the growth, one must also consider the varying vigor of the different parts of the tree. Namely, the top of the tree is always more vigorous than the bottom parts of the tree. Therefore, when pinching growth, one should start at the bottom of the tree and work upwards in a time staggered basis. The plan is to separate the work into three stages. I’ll first pinch the bottom 1/3 of the tree, wait a week, pinch the middle portion, wait a week, then pinch the top. The reason to stagger the work in stages is to balance the vigor of the tree, such that the bottom branches will have a chance to “catch up”.
I started the work with pinching out the first lower tier.
Waited a week, then pinched the next tier.
Waited another week, then pinched the final tier.
By the time I finished pinching the top, the bottom branches are already sending out new growths in the newly exposed wood. With the pinching done, the definition of the tree is much more refined. The challenge is to keep the tree pruned such that it doesn’t get too unwieldy.
I also pinched my other Shimpaku during the same timeframe. Surprising, after pinching, I see a new front for the tree. So, I decided to turn it around, and re-positioned some of the branches.