Tips on Training Hinoki Cypress

Michael Hagedorn

Hinoki means ‘sun tree’ in Japanese. It tends to grow bolt upright, like a flagpole with foliage.

Hinoki Cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa, is a popular species for bonsai with intense green foliage sprays covering its branches. This is one of the conifers we can pinch. Let it grow to ramp up energy, then in mid-season cut back the larger shoots with scissors, or, if shoots are shorter, pinch. A good bit of ramification arises from consistent yearly attention to this schedule.

For pinching with fingers take your cues from the hairdresser, who holds a fan of hair together and then trims off the top. Hold multiple Hinoki shoots together and then pinch their tops with the fleshy part of the fingers.

This pinching maintenance is best done in the growing season. June or July are good months, roughly (apologies to Southern Hemisphere growers, I’m…hemispherecentric?) Then they may need another pinch…

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