Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chinese Yew Fukinaoshi

I finally got around to begin training our Chinese Yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus) today. It is a 10ft. tall multi-trunk conifer. The ground around it is temporarily not level, it's right up against a tall wall and short fence, and one side (the right side) of it is hard to reach without stepping onto the neighbor's yard so the pruning process was very difficult. Since we bought the house a year and a half ago, it has been a tall shrubby box which is quite unattractive.

I found this description about the Yew tree:

"Known for its incredible longevity (estimated to be well over 1,000 years), the Yew can be commonly found growing on ancient sacred sites, that often predate the construction of its neighbouring church. The Yew is meant to protect the living from evil spirits and protect the dead on their journey to the other world, it also represents eternal life, death and rebirth. Simply being in the presence of an old Yew can fill a person with a sense of timeless awe and it is easy to see why pre-Christian Pagans worshipped these magnificent trees."

I used the method of Fukinaoshi as described in the Niwaki book by Jake Hobson with the intention of training it in the monkaburi style, where a branch is trained above the gate, or sometimes driveway, of the house. The basic idea is to remove dead branches, epicormic growth, water sprouts, suckers, undesirable small branches, and thinning out foliage. Then train the branches horizontal, and refine pads into zig-zag cloud shapes that taper upwards.

Monkaburi style

Cloud pruning

This is how far I got after 4 hours of pruning. Not done yet but almost there.

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