Fukinaoshi, "to re-do" overgrown trees

Thinning [d] to preserve the natural habit of the branches and foliage is known as chirashi, while fukinaoshi is mostly used at the nursery. Fukinaoshi, a kind of revision (literally: "to re-do") is the technique for cutting back overgrown trees, creating a new shape.
It is the basic technique used to shape established trees, that may have been neglected (just not) too long and involves cutting back to a framework of the trunk and main branches, before establishing a new shape [12].

In [12] you find a recent book reference to "Niwaki", (niwa ki) clipped and pruned garden trees. This is the book that we should have had right from the beginning of our garden. Unfortunately at was not available at the time. Nonetheless, although late it is never too late for this kind of expert information. What we did use as a reference for trees is a book on bonsai [13]. Most trees, shapes and techniques on training and pruning that apply to bonsai can also be applied to full-size niwaki. During selection of trees it is important to know how they will grow and show and need to be handled.

In Tsubo-en we have applied this technique to a couple of trees, more or less just in time. The main reasons that we had to use this technique is caused by both ignorance and lack of time. Nonetheless the end result leads to very acceptably shaped niwaki.
Although fukinaoshi can be applied to all Niwaki, in our case we have mostly applied it to evergreens. What is very important and valuable to know, is the main difference between pines and most other trees and the way in which they respond to pruning. While broadleaved trees as well as some conifers shoot from old wood when pruned (like Taxus do), pines do not. Once the needles have dropped off a branch there is little chance of provoking new growth. So you should never prune back to a point that has no fresh needles and expect new growth.

Pinus mugo mugo

Planted in the front garden compartment, as a very small tree it grow very well. However it got to big and the shape also no longer fitted its surrounding. That was after some six year. Being too bussy and not being sure what to do it was in 2008 that we got time and found out about "fukinaoshi".

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2084 So after a good reading and evaluating the available options, this resulted in a metamorphoses where it went from one bush-like structure to a grouping of three (miniature) trees. Now in the next years the steps, danzukuri, need to develop. This is described in Training, clipping and pruning section Pinus Mugo mugo.


Pinus densiflora, Japanese Red Pine

The photos show the Pinus densiflora, Japanese Red Pine, in the main garden compartment, before and just after its first major pruning or actually "fukinaoshi" 15, at the age of about 14 year, 10 of which in our garden (from 1999) [d]. This was the year that it got its first cone. In January 2007 the tree was top-heavy and fell over during a storm. After we got it more or less back in place we started thinking of how to prune it. It was only after we found the book Niwaki [12] that we feld confident to give it a go in 2008.

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In the following years the steps, danzukuri, need to be further developed. This is described in Training, clipping and pruning section Pinus densiflora, Japanese Red Pine.




Cryptomeria Japonica (sugi) "elegans"

The Cryptomeria Japonica (sugi) "elegans" in the left side compartment just after its first major training and pruning for lateral growth [d], [12].

In 2008 this cryptomeria was given a "fukinaoshi" treatment that resulted in a dramatic cutting back and thinning-out, training it as "twins" (sokanshitate) with very bendy trunks (kyokukanshitate).

This tree was first planted next to the Mount Sumeru stone setting, in the main garden compartment, where it just managed to survive but did not grow. A couple of years later we moved it to the its current place in the left side compartment where it grew as never before.

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2310 2307 Now we can start to develop the shape of the foliage of the Cryptomeria Japonica as "steps", danzukuri and/or "shells", kaizukuri.


Chamaecyparis Lawsonia "white spot"

This Chamaecyparis Lawsonia "white spot" in the left side compartment has grown straight up until mid 2008.

In the summer of 2008 this also was given a "fukinaoshi" treatment. The purpose of this is to get it shaped into the "hollow" version of the tamazukuri style.

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Taxus media "hillii"

The Taxus media "hillii" or Yew, in the left side compartment, got a "fukinaoshi" treatment in 2007. The style we pursue here is called "lots" (takanshitate), which means lots of "steps" on separate branches, danzukuri and/or "balls", tamazukuri.

Note that the "backdrop" has changed over time. In 2007 we still had the Ilex (hulst) that died almost completely.
The hedgerow was replaced in July 2008, by some hundred Thuja occidentalis "Braband".

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Danzukuri or steps.
Different pruning styles for the shape of foliage on branches are given descriptive names.
A step is the upper half of a ball.
Tamazukuri or balls.
Different pruning styles for the shape of foliage on branches are given descriptive names.
A ball is as round as possible.
Kaizukuri or cockle shape.
Different pruning styles for the shape of foliage on branches are given descriptive names.
Kai is a cockle (bivalve shell) or at least a shape that resembles that.

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