Eucalypts as bonsai: a summary of AusBonsai posts

Phil Rabl
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Re: Eucalypts as bonsai: a summary of AusBonsai posts

Post by Phil Rabl »

Yep, trimming promotes back budding. Most of the articles I have read about auxins and cytokinins talk about how trimming changes the flow of these hormones in the plant and induces axillary buds to shoot. Big variations between species, though. I find it interesting that burning the leaves of eucalypts triggers the same reaction in the tree as trimming, but like Peter I will stick to trimming. At least for now.
Phil Rabl
Aussie Bonsai Fan
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Posts: 97
Joined: June 24th, 2013, 2:58 pm
Bonsai Age: 20
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Re: Eucalypts as bonsai: a summary of AusBonsai posts

Post by Phil Rabl »

In December 2021, a post asked about back budding and grafting eucalypts. (viewtopic.php?f=78&t=29961)

A very interesting response by Shibui said:

Backbudding
My experience has been that most stop making new buds when branches start growing strongly. Then almost all growth is at the tips which eventually leads to long, bare sections. Pruning at that stage is hit and miss - sometimes the branches will bud well, other times the whole branch dies back and new shoots grow from the trunk so everything needs to be started over. Most of the eucalypt growers I have talked to report they allow the eucalypt bonsai to grow slowly out with regular tip pruning but at some stage chop back hard and start over.

Grafting
Eucalypts can be grafted. Commercial grafted trees are available in nurseries, but I do not know the methods used. I recently tried some emergency grafting after a flowering gum in the garden broke off. Pretty sure none have survived. Approach grafting is a much surer method to get grafts. There's no reason it won't work for a eucalypt but I have had less success with low approach grafts because vigour is less lower down under the dominant canopy.

An experiment with breaking rather than cutting
I don’t have many eucalypts, but a few days ago I decided to try breaking a branch rather than cutting it back. I am assuming this will not change the likelihood of it backbudding. I did it mainly to try and mimic storm damage. I think the broken bit in the photo looks much more realistic than the old cut you can also see in the photo. Unless this technique proves to be a failure, I am going to break rather than cut branches on my eucalypts – only the branches that will stay as part of the design. Stray stuff that I don't want e.g., shooting from the lignotuber will be cut right back as normal.
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