I really think I just need somebody to tell me, "DON'T DO IT!"
It's all part of winter duldrums (already )
This is also not actually about Bonsai, but I've been trying to apply Bonsai tree training principles to my container fruit trees -- seedling citruses, avocados, etc. as well as lemon verbena -- with a bit of basic espalier and fruit tree pruning theory thrown in for good measure.
Here's the situation:
I have some seedling citruses, avocados, and a mango that grew really well over the summer. They live outside during frost-free months, then inside during the cold months.
They are currently being shaped by pulling or weighing down the long branches and competing leaders, and selected main leader is being supported to grow upright, etc. Some of them are really overgrown and need the branches shortened, and there are some twiggy branches that need to go entirely. I have a few branches that I would like to see fatten up a bit (here's where the Bonsai training tech comes into play).
My understanding is that you let the branch grow out to get it to thicken. I also bent down the other branches so the tip shoot of the one I want to thicken is now apically dominant.
Does this sound about right?
With regard to the other, lower bent branches, they need to be shortened at some point, but I should still wait until late winter/early spring before new growth starts to cut them back right? No matter how unsightly they are or how much the long branches are starting to feel more and more like they're taking up much needed space/blocking available sunlight.... I'm also hoping for some plant hormone action here to encourage earlier fruiting (espalier tech) so I know I shouldn't cut them back but, rather, keep them bent down for a while, but I don't know for how long....
What about some new shoots on some of the citrus that are starting now, which no doubt will be weak and spindly and will be cut off later on? They'll send out more growth around February that I usually shorten to stubs when I set them outside in spring. All of these plants grow in spurts and make several strong new branches in late spring and late summer.
With the outdoor garden hibernating, I'm tempted to do more than I should with my indoor garden! Somebody stop me -- please!
(I'll move this thread to Fruit Tree Forum if it seems more appropriate, but it felt to me like a lot of what I'm trying to do here is closer to Bonsai work than to pruning outdoor, in-ground planted fruit trees.)