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Hong Kong Orchid tree corrective pruning


 
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brockmari



Joined: 22 May 2021
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 2:12 pm    Post subject: Hong Kong Orchid tree corrective pruning Reply with quote

I came across the very useful article on your site by Dr. Martin Williams about Hong Kong Orchid Trees: http://www.phoenixtropicals.com/orchid_tree.html. The article perfectly describes my Hong Kong Orchid trees (inherited from the previous owner of my home) as to bloom and dormancy in Phoenix. There is some additional clarification that I would like to understand related to the timing of corrective pruning. So far I have gotten inconsistent information from the local Gardening groups including Master Gardeners of Maricopa related to the timing of corrective pruning. For example, I was told that the reason that my trees currently look shabby is because they need fertilizer and more water, while from your article the reason is that they are going into their semi-dormancy and should not be fertilized. The latter seems correct to me as my trees just completed their profuse bloom period a few weeks ago, and the leaves and flowers appeared quite healthy during that time despite having not been fertilized. The references (Johnson's Guide) say the tree blooms from May-Aug and should be pruned in March, however my trees were at peak bloom in March.

Question #1: When is the best time for corrective pruning? Is it during this upcoming dormancy period before late July or should I want until fall as others are advising me? If I wait until fall then I think I will be removing all of next season’s blooms, because my tree started blooming in January, and according to your article they will begin to leaf out again when the monsoons arrive.

Question #2: The article says that the trees can be kept small by pruning. I do need to keep these small since they are planted close to the house but would like to confirm the technique. It does seem like without the pruning they are well on their way to reaching the 30 feet height mentioned in your article and that will be much too large. Also I can see from previous pruning that if you shorten a branch it will then put forth a large number of water sprouts from that cut which then creates a messy knot and appearance as well as long branches that break off in the wind. Is it a matter of strategically staggering the cuts back to a lateral branch, and then removing or shortening any water sprouts as they occur? Typically you should not top trees but I don’t see any other way of preventing these trees from growing taller than suitable for the location.

#3, one of the trees (the one on the right) had a trunk that grew out of the root stock. I realized this when about 1/3 of the tree had white flowers instead of pink and a large number of seed pods. This trunk had grown to be the strongest trunk on that tree, and although a bit concerned about stressing the tree, I have gone ahead and removed that trunk just as temperatures exceeded 100. Was that a mistake?

I attached a picture of my trees taken in May and would be grateful for any tips or further information about the care of these trees. Thanks!



20210512_063915.jpg
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My Hong Kong Orchid Trees, picture taken May 12.
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My Hong Kong Orchid Trees, picture taken May 12.


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phoenixtropicals
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Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 1207
Location: Mesa Arizona

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your post. Your yard looks great. I pruned my tree about a month ago, in mid May, which means it was about the same time you took your photo.

The flowering was slowing down and the leaves were starting to drop. They seem to go dormant right at the beginning of summer. It was getting super tall and I think I took about 6 to 10 feet off the top. I just prune it at the same radius all the way around. Maybe I thin if the branches get too tangled up, but besides that I just cut it off at the desired radius. The wood is fairly soft so some big pruning shears seem to do the trick for anything that has grown in the last year. Saw for really big stuff.

Included is photo of my tree today. You can see it is already putting out new growth. I recommend trimming your trees to get rid of the long stuff on the top. So leaving about 2 to 3 feet of that denser canopy.

Yes, I agree with you. Your trees did not lack fertilizer. This is just what they do every year. I don't find that my tree sunburns very easily but I definitely think you should leave the thick part of the canopy. If you want to really hack it back then do it earlier like March but you'll lose your flowers that season.



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Hong Kong Orchid tree corrective pruning


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brockmari



Joined: 22 May 2021
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:35 pm    Post subject: Hong Kong Orchid Tree summer pruning Reply with quote

Thanks so much for giving me the courage to prune the trees. I did it early last week (yes, during the heat wave) and not a day too soon as the trees started leafing out again within a couple of days of the pruning. I removed only the excessively long branches on the top and sides and did not touch the interior except for a few branches that were rubbing together. Looking to do some more thinning a little earlier next spring. I've attached a picture of how they look today. So far they seem to be doing fine and the smaller one even has a few blooms. I will try to post a picture later on after they are fully leafed out again. Thanks again!


20210624_132335.jpg
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Hong Kong Orchid Trees on June 24, about 2 weeks after pruning
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Hong Kong Orchid Trees on June 24, about 2 weeks after pruning


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phoenixtropicals
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Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 1207
Location: Mesa Arizona

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great!
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