The cold weather brings out the red in the bark and makes it a stunning focal point in the winter garden. My friend and client, Linda, called and asked if I could give her a pruning lesson, using her Japanese Coral Bark Maple for training material. As these trees are routinely used in the Japanese art of Bonsai I knew that we could prune it without worry. It had become dense and twiggy over the last couple of years and it was definately time to trim it up.
Opening up the canopy to light and correcting the structure is best done in winter when you can really see the framework of the tree.
It was a cold day when we got together as you can see by the snow on the ground. It is so hard to coordinate our schedules, there was no way either if us was going to cancel. We layered up and and decided we could tuff it out. The cold must have affected my brain as I forgot to take my ‘before’ picture of the tree so we could compare it to the finished masterpiece. When it leafs out in spring we will really be able to compare it to the picture from two years ago that you can see here, on the right.
Pruning small trees and shrubs takes a bit of practice and you need to develop a good eye for structure and beauty. However, it is a skill that can be learned by most people if you take the time, do a bit of research, and get some help from someone who is proficient at it.
Pruning bigger trees or any of our mature oaks here in Tehachapi is best left to the professionals. Feel free to call me if you need a referral.