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froggy
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How to fatten up a lemon seedling?

Ok I have this lemon seedling, which is about a year old. (I'll post an image later)
It's about a foot tall so far, pencil thick and has no branches.
In spring it's going outside in a larger pot, but I am undecided if I should pinch he top to encourage branching now, or just leave it to grow way taller and wait for branches to appear either naturally or when I chop it down to get some taper (probably in a year or two)...
What do you think would make it grow fatter sooner?

I am hoping for the final tree to be about the height it has now, but am aware that any branches that would grow now will have to be taken off later to maintain proportion...
;)

TomM
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OK - not many bonsaiists here doing lemon trees.

The garden forum index lists other forums such as SEED STARTING and GROWING & CARING FOR FRUIT. You might pick up some tips there.

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froggy
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Thanks,
I decided to take the top buds and one leaf off and see where that takes me. Since I'll probably lose some of this winters growth anyways when I move the plant outside, I figure it won't hurt too much doing that...
It should branch out ok... Whether it's the faster way to go or not, lol, I am starting with a seedling, so why suddenly the rush... I guess I am just getting bored and looking for things to do before spring :)

I have some fresh lemon seedlings started, so if this doesn't work out I'll know better next year :D
;)

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applestar
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I posted a link to a really informative citrus pruning info somewhere probably in Growing Fruit Forum. Keep in mind this is for a citrus orchard, but it gives good details on growth habit of citrus.

IME, the citrus seedlings begin explosive and exponential growth in their 3rd year.

Hmm... I WAS going to write:
"I've no idea how that translates to bonsai, but it's always been my understanding that you want to let them grow unchecked to thicken them up, whether for bonsai or in the orchard."

But then I thought about it, and I don't think that's quite correct, or -- actually, it's correct, but -- there's a flip side to that, which is: To keep them "small", you want to cut the strong growth and let the weak growth take over. The more you cut a vigorous growth, the more new buds/side shoots grow. Doing this delays maturity.

Still trying to wrap my brain around the two seemingly contradictory concepts when trying to apply them to bonsai training. :? :wink:

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froggy
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Hmmm, well, doesn't it depend on what you call 'maturity'? - if the only thing that is being delayed is the blooming/fruit bearing, i would think that's not that much of a problem since you don't necessarily plan on a bonsai bearing fruit anyways...

My thought process was that branches help thicken the stem. I am not looking for a whole bunch of small branches, just a first set. Then the plan was to let it grow unchecked, prune back the branches after a year or two, and do a trunk chop for taper... Haven't decided in which order to do all this, guess it depends on how this baby grows...

so, in effect this would be the middle road between the growing unchecked and pruning vigorous growth...

does this reasoning make sense?

i'll be off to look for that link now :)
Here it is: [url=https://www.agnet.org/library/bc/52007/]Training and Pruning the Citrus Trees[/url]
;)

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Gnome
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AS,
Still trying to wrap my brain around the two seemingly contradictory concepts when trying to apply them to bonsai training.
I think the proper approach would depend upon the characteristics of Citrus, of which I don't have the experience to comment upon. Let's use some other species as an example.

An Elm has the ability to back-bud even on very old wood so you could grow one out pretty much as quickly as possible and only after the desired trunk is achieved chop it back hard and expect a profusion of new buds from which to choose a new leader or finished branches.

Many Pines are not so forthcoming with new buds and greater care must be taken in the early years. In this case it is important to retain as many low branches as possible. Some of these branches are destined to become finished branches/new leader while others can be used to thicken the trunk. These are known as sacrifice branches.

Maples offer an even different set of concerns. They will back-bud readily but have a very strong tendency to do so only at the sites of previous nodes. So if a Maple is grown too quickly when it is young the nodes will be far apart which will limit your options later.

So this brings up the question of how readily the plant in question will back-bud.

Norm

hitsware
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I'm a novice at Bonsai, but I know
from regular pruning that if you let
a tree go to long without pruning, it
can get to the point that the whole
tree is comprised of what you want to
prune (when you want to prune)......
I.E. you may have nothing of value left

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bonsaiboy
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Citrus plants have a moderate backbudding capability, so the idea of trimming down and growing out may work. I also remember reading in a book that wrapping a wire around the base of the tree, where the trunk meets the roots will help thicken it. I have no idea if this works or not.
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TomM
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I doubt that this would work with a one year old seedling - maybe the girth of a Q-tip.

Wait a few more years.

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froggy
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Thanks for the replies :)
I am guessing he wire would keep the nutrients from going down into the roots... But on a bonsai it would mess up the transition between trunk and nebari... No?
;)

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bonsaiboy
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As I said, I have yet to try this, so I am not sure about the practicality of it. But in theory it seems like it would work.
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