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Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Posted by Mama_Otter none (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 3, 12 at 14:51

Hi, I was given a jade plant start about 8 years ago and it's done very well until about a month ago. I have moved it about the house according to my whim and it has been very forgiving and has adapted to every new location. When located next to a window, I turned it occasionally so that it would grow straight and tall. It was about 18 inches tall, and seemed "wobbly" or top-heavy.

Then one day, overnight it seems, it just keeled over! I was worried that it was wilting and was going to die. But it didn't. It didn't lose leaves, the off-shoots are all pointing skyward, and the main trunk has little roots sprouting along it!

After reading other postings for jade plant, I now know that this is normal jade behavior, and that perhaps a snip-job is in order.

I do like the bowed-over look but now the planter doesn't fit anywhere. Plus it looks way out of balance! Question is, where would be the best place(s)to cut?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 3, 12 at 15:27

It's hard to tell because you have so many branches obscuring the trunk line. Would it be possible to furnish another couple of views with the plant rotated 90* and 180* clockwise?

I'm thinking that tackling the pruning in 2 major steps might not be such a bad idea, but I can help you with a plan. Also, there's no question the plant is telling you it wants more light. Whether or not you can provide it is a separate issue, but that's what the plant just told you. Fortunately, you can still quite easily build a plant with a form more interesting shape than something formal and upright out of what you have now.

Al


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Yep, more light, better soil.
I'd probably trim it lightly, and re-pot it in a more upright fashion. After it grows
in the new position for a while, I'd prune again based on the new growth.

I'm with Al...more pics would help, indeed.


Josh


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to the forum. Thank you to both Al and Josh for taking the interest in my post.

Al, I got a Photobucket account and am going to try my hand and posting a few different views of the jade here.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
As you can see, I've moved it to a sunny window. Again thanks for your help. I'm eager to hear your ideas.


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Hello Mama_Otter,

I'd trim off the part that is most hanging over which is the heaviest area on the plant. I edited the picture to circle the area I'm talking about. Also the area that I put an X on could be removed and any other branches that curl down and are trying to grow back up. You could also just trim off branches like that and see how it looks to your liking before you went more drastic. I would also recomend repotting it in a more gritty mix and turning the plant so it would be more upright and see how it grows. Good luck and let us know what you do.


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 19:21

Good job on the pictures!

If you decide to listen to me, it's going to take a certain amount of trust on your part. To reassure you, I'm a long time bonsai practitioner, and used to looking at a plant and seeing in the mind's eye how it could potentially look many years from now. The down side is, you'll have to be content with a plant that won't start to look a lot better until it back-buds and starts to grow some new branches. I'm so accustomed to that wait that I don't even give it a second thought - just chop when & where it's appropriate, but that decision is easier on me because for every raw tree I have, I have 10 that are getting to the stage or are at the stage where they are pleasing to the eye, so that 1 raw tree sort of gets lost amid the rest of the greenery.

Changing the planting angle of your jade isn't really going to fix the long internodes and leggy growth. That's a function of the low light level it's been grown under. I can't see all the branches, but the only ones I really wanted to see are those that emerge from the trunk before the first big 'Y'. If you look at the second picture you posted today, you'll see a branch that comes of the near side/top of the trunk just before the big 'Y'. That branch appears to move from right to left in the picture. That's your new leader. If you sever the main trunk at the 'Y' and leave a stub there, a new branch will emerge from the base of the new leader. You can clean up the stub after the new branch gets going. I'll be around in the spring & can help you with that. All the branches growing below that new leader will be removed next summer, but leave them on for now. The tree needs them for their ability to make food (for the winter), and they will further thicken the trunk, which will add taper to your tree. You might not realize it, but the taper you'll be creating in your trunk is a feature that will add a LOT to the plant's eye appeal. If you become a regular member or otherwise stay in touch, I'll even help you with a plan for future pruning. You can easily build a plant that is much more unique and interesting than most jades commonly seen - sort of lemons to lemonade.

For those who want to keep their jades very compact, prune them in June, making sure to prune all branches at least hard enough to remove all growth made from the previous Sep through pruning time. This ensures that ALL growth on the tree will have been formed under the highest light period and while the plant is changing from a tendency to elongate to a tendency to STORE nutrients for the winter.

Not a jade, but getting close. This plant has actually outgrown itself & needs a restyling because the large branches are too congested.
Photobucket

Here's what it looked like after a repot and some critical thinning & restructuring of branches.
Photobucket

..... not exactly pretty, but necessary. The tree's appearance would have continued to decline. It will look better by next summer's end (looks much better already) and will look good by mid summer '14.

So - do you have the courage? ;-)

Al


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Great update, Al ;-)
Yes, should be looking good by 2014! I just gave my Port. afra a bit of a trim.

Al, I noticed you didn't mention a change of soil...or did you and I missed it?

I wouldn't recommend changing the angle without that trim that I suggested.

Josh


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 8, 12 at 7:00

Oh boy - I didn't even notice that you'd posted, Josh. My bad! A change of soil would definitely be a priority if it was mine. And she could change the plant's attitude (planting position/angle) in the pot if preferred. In my mind, I'm seeing the pruning I described now, and a repot come June '13. The position of the branch I figured for the new leader sort of fit very nicely with that plan. I rescanned the thread, but didn't see where MO lives, so, as durable as her plant is and in view of how much it doesn't like wet feet/a soggy soil, a repot might still be a possibility, depending on what she has to offer in the light/temp dept - if she lives in the southern tier of states, perhaps.

...... and I agree - IMV, that semi-cascading branch has to go in order to get the plant back on a track to making it over into a uniquely interesting specimen.

Al


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Indeed!
I agree, if there's enough good weather left, I'd re-pot...although it is gettin' late
in the season.

Josh


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

Yes, Al, I do have the ccccourage! And more questions, of course. What do I make the cut with? a very sharp knife and cut straight through?

The potting soil is MG w/moisture control. It was re-potted about 5 mos ago into this large pot. If I don't need to re-pot now, I'll save soil questions for later.

Light: It is now in a east-facing double window that gets full direct sun until about noonish. It has never been outside. I live in Idaho high desert (winters are freezing, summers are hot!).

OK, I had fun with the photo program; here's the pic.
Photobucket


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RE: Jade Plant took a bow! Where to snip?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 8, 12 at 21:35

Great - you have the pruning laid out correctly. Leave the stub - it will dry back to the next viable node where a branch will occur eventually, and you can prune the dead stub back to sound tissue next spring. It doesn't matter what you prune it with, a pair of sharp bypass pruners would be best, or a saw with a fine blade, but be sure to support the main trunk well while using the saw. You can Make cuttings from the branches you prune off if you like. They should strike pretty readily for you - use a very coarse medium. Both Josh & I grow succulents in something that looks like this:
Photobucket

and they love it.

Your plant will love it outdoors when temps are above 55* - just don't take it out and set it in full sun w/o acclimating it. It's probably better now, to keep it indoors until next summer or late spring, then give it a vacation in the yard. For now, acclimating it to a south or west exposure indoors will give it the light it craves.

I'll leave a link that covers some basics and talks a little about soil, which is an issue that can be pivotal. If you're to have a healthy plant, you have to provide a healthy home for roots - a requirement, not an option. The former is not possible w/o the later. The link is below - if that one is helpful and you'd like to learn more about soils, I'll provide that link, too.

Best luck!

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Click me & I'll take you to the thread.


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