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Growing/training standards - beginner's advice please!

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:26 pm
by Delilah
Hi

I am hoping to grow several plants as small standards, e.g.
- Pomegranate
- Bottlebrush
- Delonix/Ponciana
- Fuchsia

My first question is about how long to let the main stem grow before nipping the top for the first time, to encourage branching? Once I nip the top will the height of the main stem remain the same forever, or will it continue growing?

e.g. I have a young dwarf Pomegranate that's currently a single straight 12" stem. I'm tempted to nip the top so it can start branching, but should I? I would like the main stem to eventually reach about 18".

Thanks :)

Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:59 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
They are trees and it will always develop a leader no matter how many times you whack it back...

If you want to maiintain apical dominance, but keep things growing along just tip the leader; just the top few internodes. This will be enough to send the branching message down the trunk, but are you sure that's what you want to do? Or would it be better to grow it past the height you want, eliminating the branching until you cut it hard back to height? (putting off new leader development and encouraging back budding and lateral branching more). I think the latter...

HG