I can't start working on any conifers or deciduous trees this early in the year, so I go through my tropicals kept indoors looking for pests, taking off or putting on wire, and cleaning them up. This is a small Microcarpa started from a cutting ~3 years ago. The pot is 5 inches in diameter at the top and the tree is a little over 10 inches. The trunk at the base is a little over 1/2 inch. I haven't done anything to it except let it grow and it looks like I cut off one lead at some point.
Because it has so many branches low on the trunk I decided to try and grow a medium informal upright using most of those branches as sacrifice branches to thicken the trunk at the base. With my growing conditions this is a 5 to 10 project.
I identified 3 branches to keep plus the lead. Below is one of the branches before I shortened it. The second picture below shows the cut. I later took off the thick stub back to the smaller secondary on the left. The zip ties in the picture are my method of marking the branches to keep. A zip tie for one to keep. A sacrifice has no zip tie. I reverse that and use wire when there are fewer sacrifices than keepers.
Add some wire to put structural movement in the keeper branches and lead and it is done.
I will start fertilizing twice a month in March with a liquid fertilizer then move it outdoors when the night temperatures are reliably above 50 degrees. I will use Osmocote Plus twice, once when it goes outdoors and once more mid summer, and apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks while it is outdoors. Once back indoors I will fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer. That is the plan for the year. Let it grow.
At this point I am only working on the trunk, making sure it has some movement and just letting it extend and thicken. The keeper branches are actually just possibilities and may come off in the future. The sacrifice branches will remain until I am satisfied with the thickness of the trunk or until they start getting to large and cutting them results in a large scar to heal. The wire will probably come off in early summer. This fall when I move it indoors I will prune to eliminate junctures with more than 2 branches. I also may add some wire. I think wiring in the fall when moving indoors to lower light can help by spreading the branches to maximize the exposed leaf mass. No repot this year, perhaps in 2022.
Next spring brings another evaluation based on progress from 2021. Time for patience.