Ceanothus 'Trewithen Blue' Tree - train into a standard?

Hi there, 

We have just taken receipt of one of the above and a pruned and shaped tree of 1.8m height. https://www.ornamental-trees.co.uk/ceanothus-trewithan-blue-tree-p856

It has had the leading stem cut, which we are told is to make it more vigorous. We were sold it on the understanding we could grow it into a lollipop shaped standard (or at least more upright habit than might occur if we let it grow as it likes). The supplier suggested we train the next uncut stem upwards with a bamboo cane and then in time slowly remove the lower branches as the tree grows up.

Is this likely to be successful? And if so, roughly how long in good conditions would it take to get to say 1.7m clear stem, with foliage only above this height? The way our garden is planned won't work if it becomes bushy with branches lower than this height.

Thanks,

Michael

Posts

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 22,817
    Can you post a photo of it?

    Devon.
  • Hi! Yes, here, this is the photo from the website, I can't get to our actual tree now but it looks very similar. The leading shoot has been taken off the top of the main stem and this is now starting to bend over slightly and all the leaves have started to face the same way. The supplier suggests that we use a bamboo cane to train this shoot upwards.

    Michael
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 22,817
    brownmjh said:
    Hi! Yes, here, this is the photo from the website, I can't get to our actual tree now but it looks very similar. The leading shoot has been taken off the top of the main stem and this is now starting to bend over slightly and all the leaves have started to face the same way. The supplier suggests that we use a bamboo cane to train this shoot upwards.

    Michael
    one of your tree would be more helpful to advise
    Devon.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 22,817
    IMHO , it's not the best plant to train as a standard. I'm not sure a single stem will be strong enough to support a large "head".
    Devon.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 2,641
    ..where in the country are you?... this is not a plant for cold northern or exposed sites as it's not totally hardy.. [edit.. I notice from another thread you are in Salisbury and garden on chalk]...
    ...it's correct name is Ceanothus arboreus 'Trewithen Blue'... 
    ...otherwise I can only comment from the experience of growing it in Cornwall..

    ...it's an evergreen Tree, hence the 'arboreus'... to 20 foot or so... very top heavy, very fast growing, and it quickly outgrows its roots... therefore in a windy location it will need a strong stake until established... 
    ...although a native of southern California - hence the hardiness issue... it is not a good choice for chalky soils, it will turn chlorotic without regular applications of sequestrene or soil amendments..

    ...it is capable of being grown on a single stem forming a trunk with a multi head, but I've only seen it as a small tree that way...  you will have to remove those lower branches otherwise it will just form itself into a shrub... at this stage you could rub most of them off or prune out...  if you want to grow it as a standard you would need to start doing this by next Spring, or earlier if you live in a sheltered area, southern or western coasts... 
    ..it's up to you to create that bare trunk like a standard... right now going by the photo it will form a large shrub unless those lower branches are removed...

     best of luck with it... 
  • Thank you Hostafan1 and Marlorena, we will think very carefully about what to do, it sounds like a tree with more of an upright habit would be a good idea...we'll give it some thought. Thank you so much for the time and effort! All really useful insights :-)

    Michael
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 22,817
    I'd hate to think of you spending a lot of effort to make it a Standard, then have the top snap off if it got too top heavy, or it got hit by a good wind. 
    Devon.
  • Thank you! That is so kind of you, I feel the same way, not worth the risk.

    Michael
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 22,817
    It's a wonderful shrub. I might even say my favourite ceanothus. I love that particular shade of blue.
    Devon.
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