I want to share my techniques for shearing Korean Fir. Creating a dominant leader on Korean Fir can be a problem. Unlike most firs that if you trim a leader above a bud it will most likely create a dominant bud from one below the cut. Koreans will sometimes just grow sideways from the bud you trim above, causing the tree to go leaderless for several years. Previous strategies were to trim the leader in the spring time, but that has shown to not be effective all the time either. Also using chemicals to stunt the leader have worked but have been cost prohibitive. The latest technique that growers have tried is trimming the leader when it is still in its succulant stage before it hardens off. When the terminal has reached 10 to 12" or your desired length during growing season and is still soft trim the leader above a preferably large bud. The leader will still put on 2 to 3" of growth after you trim it so take that into consideration when you time your cut. Since all trees do not grow at the same speed, you will have to make a couple diffferant trips through your fields.
Here is an interesting tree that I am working on now. This tree had a 30" leader last summer, with about 40 buds on it. Instead of shearing it back I let it grow out this summer. If I would have cut it back I would have lost all of the growth. This tree will probably fill in by the time it is 8 feet tall
The reason that this tree put out such a long leader was because all of the lateral buds in the top whorl aborted so all of the trees energy went to the terminal bud. I am currently now going and removing laterals on trees that are not putting out much growth as soon as they break bud to help push out a longer leader.
Here is the tree after this years growth now. I cut the leader at about 3" after I could see some buds forming. It still elongated out 2 to 3 inches after I trimmed it. All of the new buds at the end of the terminal are pointing up so there is a good chance for it to make a straight leader. Also at the time I cut the leader there were only a couple buds that had formed. After cutting it some more buds formed. As I said I am going to thin out some of the branches to make it a more balanced look.
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