Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki)

(Luigi Dell'Orto) #1

Hi there,

I’m looking for advise on how to treat the chamaecyparis obtusa plant I start for nursery stock two years ago

My intention is to make it in formal upright, long way to go still.

Anyway this year it is growing quite well and I would like to have advices on
how to manage the pads as as you know c.obtusa do not back bud at all on brown wood.

The yellow lines represent a possible place to apply cuts in order to try to keep the foliage close to the trunk. Is this correct?

Also I have some quite dense pads, and I’m not sure wether I should try to keep them on a single line of vegetation avoding overlapping of pads to avoid they turn brown and fall in Fall.

I have also found this article online but I’m still unsure about correct procedure.!AlEFuBS-8-Wz6xlunTFF14mDU4sn

@bonsaitonight I have seen your post about Hinoki here (, very very jealous of your work :blush:

Thanks for the help


(Jonas Dupuich) #2

The cuts you indicated with a yellow line are a bit extreme. The main thing when getting started will be to set the primary branches and begin working on the secondary and tertiary branching on the pads. The tree will need to grow a lot to fill out the pads and cutting back severely will slow this process down.

After wiring the branches into place, it will be easier to see which areas are dense and need to be thinned and which need to grow. In general, try to remove less than 25-30% of the foliage at any given time.

(Luigi Dell'Orto) #3

Hi there I would like to share with you all the progression of my Chamaechyparis Obtusa

This year it seems that i have found the right growing techniques, the plant is growing strong.
It has a saucer full of pumice and i covered the top with microfiber tatters to maintain humidity, it is in full sun.

The branch on the right is a little bit too heavy, what is your opinion?

I am doing a number of self approach grafting trying to bring the vegetation close to the trunk and the top need to be arranged once these grafts are set.

I hope this autumn the plant will not loose to many pads.

(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Looks nice Luigi! The branch on the right may be a bit heavy but it may not be that bad after you’ve thinned the branch in fall - that would be a good time to refine the outline of the tree.

The big branch near the top left that swings upward is the one that catches my attention. Have you thought about your plans for this area of the tree?

(Luigi Dell'Orto) #5

Hi Jonas,

thank you for your comment.

The branch on the top left will be cutted as soon as possible. Unfortunately it is long and has vegetation only to the very end.
I am doing an approch grafting to it, to install vegetation closer to the trunk ho hope it works.
I did it this spring and i plan to check it carefully next spring as the plant is growing quite ok.

Do you have any experience with approach grafting on Hinoki trees?

(Luigi Dell'Orto) #6


I forgot to ask you about thinning the branch in fall, how it is correctly carried on this task?
Should i wait until the plant naturally loose some branchlet or should i thinnig the branch before in order me doing and choosing what to eliminate instaed of leaving the pant decide?


(Jonas Dupuich) #7

I don’t have experience approach grafting hinoki - am looking forward to seeing the results!

As for the pruning, I’d wait until fall. The main goal is to make sure the density is even and that some light can go through the branches. I don’t have an article on the specifics, but you can see an example here:

(Frank Corrigan) #8

I would suggest you align the approach graft with the direction of the branch rather than across the grain. Also it will look more natural if it is placed on the side of the branch rather than the top or bottom.
Try to match the approach graft groove with the exact thickness of the approach branch to match the cambium so the result is not protruding but rather melds in with the parent branch. When you are preparing to separate the graft in a year or two, do so by reducing the flow from the approach graft with successive partial cuts over a period of time to encourage more reliance on the main branch.
I have found these details result in more successful and better looking grafts. I believe Grafting is one Bonsai skill that is best learned hands on under the direction of a skilled teacher. The devil is in the details, every aspect.

(Luigi Dell'Orto) #9

Your post is very interesting and the tree is fantastic!

I’ll keep you posted with the result.

(Luigi Dell'Orto) #10

Hi Frank,

you are right, I should find a bonsai club and look for some professional advices.

I found your suggestions very interesting, i just hope the result will be not too bad now.

(Frank Corrigan) #11

I have seen that direction work before. However, be prepared to leave it on for a longer period of time for the cambium to join. I would suggest two growing seasons as a good guideline.
Best in Bonsai