I've cleared a lot of buckthorn from my lot and adjacent land (working
on a new section each year). When I got each area cleared, what
remained (whatever wasn't buckthorn) varied quite a bit, but the
buckthorn had done a lot of damage by shading out everything below a
certain height-- killing smaller trees, forcing others to extend long
unwieldy limbs to seek light (that's what the crabapples did). But
another response was for taller trees to abandon lower limbs and do all
their growing at the top. These trees now look spindly and misshapen.
If I were the kind of person who talks to trees, I'd say "Hey-- you
have space now. Try growing branches from the middle of the trunk." Is
there another way to get this message through? Maybe there's a way to
poke something into the bark that provokes a branch to start.
You're close. Generally speaking, if you make a little cut in the trunk
above a dormant bud, so that bud can't see any auxin from the terminal
buds, it should sprout. The trick is finding the dormant buds; it's not
easy if the trunk already has thick rough bark.
Yes, there is a way called bud grafting. It's a bit involved, so I suggest
you research it on the web or at your local library. Basically, at the right
time of the year, you cut a bud from the top of the tree. You then can do
something like a T-bud
graft by cutting a pocket in the lower part of the trunk, insert the bud and
wrap it up.
I have only done this technique on fruit trees, but I see no reason why this
work on other types of trees.
I think the easiest kind of graft is a thread graft.
What you do is drill a hole through the tree, then bend a higher branch
down and poke it through the hole. When it's grown enough so the
branch is thicker on the end where it exits the trunk, cut the branch
off on the other side.
Of course, this only works if the trees are thin enough to drill
through and you have a branch you can bend around to where you want it.
Another kind of relatively easy graft is to get a sapling of the same
kind of tree and graft it on as a branch. Cut a groove in the tree and
bind the sapling to it with grafters tape. Leave the sappling roots in
a light pot. It might take a year or so to really fuse well.
I inquired about how to get branches to grow from a trunk. Thanks for
the various responses. I almost thought Scooter's first suggestions was
a joke (since I'm obviously a novice) but I guess not. The idea of
bending a branch back around won't work with the tree I'm most
interested in because the living branches on it are too far from the
part that needs branches. Anyway, I'll look into all the suggestions
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