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Prune Bush Thyme Into Living Miniature Trees for Fairy and Railroad Gardens

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Pruning Your Miniature Thyme Tree For Canopy Branching
A branch of a young thyme plant pruned to form a tree like canopy for a miniature garden.

Pruning a chosen branch into a 'canopy' changing a bushy thyme plant into a miniature tree for a railway, fairy or miniature model garden.

Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Now you need to prune your chosen main stems or 'trunks' of your thyme bush into the branching canopy that will give it the shape of a miniature tree. In the photo on this page, you are looking at the same branch as shown in the photo in step four. Notice that the small branches coming off the main stem have all been pruned to roughly the same height, leaving them approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches away from the main stem. Wherever you prune them two branches will form from just below that point. You want them pruned evenly so they will begin to branch where you want lots of leafy growth, if you leave the stems too long from the main branch, the stems may not be able to support the heavy pruned growth you are trying to create for a canopy, so keep your first pruning so that the new branches will easily be supported by the type of growth at the top of your main stem.

To 'prune' the branches, just pinch them off with your thumb and first finger. Leave them for a week or two, then come back and pinch of the very end of each new branch that has formed so it branches into two new branches, thickening your leafy growth and turning it into something resembling the upper leafy canopy of a tree. If you need slightly shorter branches you can always go back in and pinch them just above the leaf where you want the new branch to form. Each new branch will grow from the area where the leaf below it is attached.

When your thyme tree is growing actively, you will just need to neaten any branches that are too long, roughly once a week in growing season. Every time you prune the tree by pinching off a few leaves, you will roughly double your growth. If you doubt this will work, leave the side leaves on your branches for a week or two until your main trunk branches begin to thicken and you see top growth where you have pruned your 'canopy'.

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