Cedrus Libani

Discussion in 'Other Conifers' started by akhater, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    Here goes another set of questions with some more pics :)

    I have this cedrus libani I put in ground back in 2008 and I thought the game was to "forget it" for a few years. well I have just learned that this is not the correct way to do it


    Here are pictures of my cedrus libani (1st taken in 2008 when I put in in ground the other 2 today)

    any work I should be doing on it this year other than feeding ?
     

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  3. yamins

    yamins Yamadori

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    Location:
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    I'm quite curious as well as to what the right thing to do with this tree is, as I have several c. libani in a similar situation. In particular,

    1) should the tree vigorous growth near the top of the tree be pruned to give light / vigor to the lower branches?

    2) should the tree be root pruned by undercutting with a shovel once every couple of years? (After all, that is a smart thing to do with some pines, but cedars are bit root sensitive.)

    3) should there be a "sacrifice leader" as with pines?

    4) should the needles be plucked?

    thanks! (And thats to the OP for posting, very much appreciated.)

    Dan
     
  4. mcpesq817

    mcpesq817 Omono

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    I haven't worked with this species before, but I think you're running into the problem of losing all lower branches as the tree is apically dominant and doesn't appear to bud back well on old wood. Not sure what to do, but one thing I've considered doing to my pines in the ground is wiring the leader that I'm using to grow out the trunk (and will remove later when the base has thickened up enough) off to the side so that it doesn't shade the lower part of the trunk and I don't lose my lower branches.
     
  5. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    Thanks to both !

    Dan it is always good to know you are not alone in a boat and thanks for detailing so much the questions.

    mcpesq817 I didn't understand what you said :$ sorry but I am a total newbie so please treat me as one :D

    BTW I read that Cerdurs Libani can't be wired it will not follow the wire I don't know if it is true
     
  6. yamins

    yamins Yamadori

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Well, I haven't had problems with wire on c. libani. The small to medium-sized branches take it fine, much better than e.g. alberta spruce (both in terms of less dieback and retaining position better).

    I think mcpesq817 was talking about not having foliage at the top of the tree (where most of your foliage is) shade out the lower branches. All that foliage at the top might either be shading the lower branches (as it often will do with pines), or at any rate taking vigor away from the lower branches (I think this is more what happens with cedars, at least with mine). So you might want to be pruning back a bit in the middle and top of the tree to make sure that the lower branches get stronger.

    I'm worried that mcpesq817's idea about wiring the leader might not work as well for the context of these cedars (though it certainly makes sense for pines), as putting the leader off to the side might make actually your shade problems even worse. At least if I understand the pictures correctly. These cedars are bolt-straight, so as far as I can tell the mass of foliage at the top can only be gotten out of the way of the lower branches by light pruning ... unless I'm missing something, which is kind of the motivation for my question ...

    D
     
  7. mcpesq817

    mcpesq817 Omono

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    Location:
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    Yeah, yamins more clearly spelled out what I meant. Not sure if the moving the apex to the side approach would work with your tree, but I figured I'd throw it out there because that is one approach I'm thinking of to preserve the lower branches on some pines I have in the ground.

    Another approach you see pine growers use is to pull the needles off most of the leader you are growing out to thicken the trunk, except for the needles at the end (so it looks like a lion's tall - long and thin with a tuft at the end). It helps with the shade issue, and probably lowers the strength of the leader so that more energy is available lower on the trunk. Don't think that can be done with cedars though.
     
  8. jferrier

    jferrier Mame

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Washougal, WA
    In my limited experience with cedars, at least deodar and atlas, they will produce backbuds on thick branches and even the lower portion of the trunk, if they get ample light and most or all of the new end growth is pruned back each year. I'd try thinning out some of the larger needles on top also to let more light in. Also you might want to start reducing the roots a little at a time while in the ground. You can trench a few partial radii each year until its goes all the way around, each time adding back well draining soil/grit mix to encourage a fine root system. Cedars don't like too much root pruning, so if you let the roots grow too long without cutting back you may have a tough time getting it fitted into a pot without chopping more roots than it will want to tolerate. Also a properly timed trunk chop eliminating the vigourous top growth would probably cause some considerable backbudding. I've been able to reduce deodars by 1/2 to 2/3 of the height and seen good backbudding once its been opened up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  9. yamins

    yamins Yamadori

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Long Island, NY, USA
    So here are two of my cedars that are currently in a similar situation to yours, akhater.

    You'll notice that what I've tried to do is prune the foliage shoots at the tops of the trees a bit at the beginning of the growing season so that energy goes into the lower branches. As you see in my trees -- and in yours -- there's really no "sacrifice leader" the way there is with a pine. With these straight cedars, I guess you could say that the the whole upper section of the trunk is "sacrifice leader."

    One main point of having the low branches is serve as sacrifice branches to help thicken the trunk.
    Eventually, these branches will thicken the trunk enough that they can either be removed. Of course, you want enough low branches that some of them can be sacrifices, and some can be part of the design. The top portion of the trees will also eventually be removed and the apex replaced with one of the side braches. Between the low sacrifice branches and the top removal, I think you should be able to get good taper.

    In the meantime, you also have to identify which of the branches in the lower and middle portion of the tree will be design branches. You have to make sure to cut them back them early on in the process to achieve forking close to the trunk, and then prune them each year to encourage pad formation.

    I think you can combine a low branch's role as sacrifice or design, basically by pruning it back once early to achieve a fork close into the trunk, and then use one of the forks for design and the other let grow wild. As long as there are SOME (even small) low branches, and SOME buds on the branches close to the trunk, you can turn it eventually into a sacrifice or design branch.

    Akhater, your tree definitely seems to still have some low branches which can be used to good effect - but I think you're going to have to start pruning the stuff up above it to regain balance for development.

    Also -- take what I've said here with a grain of salt, as I'm a beginner as well.
     

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  10. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    wow ! that's some amount of information !

    OK, now when you say trim the top you mean I just chop 1/3 fro the top ? or should i do selective branches ?

    should I wire now or is it too early ?

    really sorry for all the question but i am a total nooob :D
     
  11. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    OK here is what I did :)

    I went out and measured about 30cm of my cedar and noticed it is hardly above the first 2 branches :D so I started pruning the top.

    I didn't dare remove full branches nor simply cut 1/3 of it instead what I did was shortening the branches each alone.

    So is it a good thing or should I go and chop everything above 30 cm for now ?

    thanks
     
  12. yamins

    yamins Yamadori

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Given the pictures shown I think you probably should just be doing light pruning in the middle. I think you still want to thicken the trunk quite a bit (I'm not sure how long the process takes, but at least 5-10 years, even in the ground). You probably could stand to remove SOME of the top, because you really want to have some backbudding on the lower branches. But the big "trunk chop" should probably come a bit down the road.

    I actually don't really know what the right thing to do is, since I'm too just a beginner ... advice from someone more knowledgeable would be great.
     
  13. Si Nguyen

    Si Nguyen Omono

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    1,018
    Location:
    Lake Forest, CA
    Hi everybody, the key thing is to decide how big of a bonsai you want in the final design. For a small size bonsai, I would probably chop this tree down to the first big branch now, and wire that branch up for a new leader, and for some movement in the trunk line. You have 2 good low branches already. Here's how I see this tree.
    Good luck!
    Si
     

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  14. yamins

    yamins Yamadori

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Si is really right -- it depends on what size bonsai you want.

    If the trunk is already the right thickness for your needs, or close to it, you might as well do the chop now. If you want a larger tree, or one with a much thicker trunk, probably you should just leave on a bit more of the trunk (though definitely prune the foliage up top in that case).

    Of course, you might not know what size bonsai you want (eg. you might "see" the tree yet) but of course Si's beautiful design concept might nudge you in a given direction .... I had been envisioning a tall, slender formal upright but his idea is nicer and achievable sooner!

    D
     
  15. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    I do want a small tree, nothing more than 30cm (1 foot) as stated in a different post. (actually this is about the height of your design)

    If I do chop right now on the like you proposed, what do I need to know ?

    I have a concave cutter should I use it ?

    Also when you say wire what should I do exactly ? I am sorry for all the questions btw

    I do want a small tree, I love them small I will try to follow Si advice and see how it leads me
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  16. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    OK Si

    I went out and did what you suggested :) I hope I will not regret it ;)

    here are 5 pictures of my chopped tree, please don't let me down now tell me what I should do next in terms of wiring.

    Open to all propositions and virtuals !


    thanks for reading
     

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  17. Si Nguyen

    Si Nguyen Omono

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    Location:
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    Have no fear my man Akhater. It is looking better already. I would be happy to walk you through the bonsai process of this tree, years if I have to, but you have to do everything I tell you. ;) OK? Do you accept this? :D
     
  18. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    Yes sensei !
     
  19. Si Nguyen

    Si Nguyen Omono

    Messages:
    1,018
    Location:
    Lake Forest, CA
    He he he!:D OK, this is going to be fun!
     
  20. akhater

    akhater Shohin

    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Lebanon
    it is a deal then !

    Any wiring I should advanture myself in this year or i stick to feeding and let it take some forces back
     
  21. yamins

    yamins Yamadori

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Yes -- the chop is definitely an improvement, and I have no doubt you'll have something cool in a few years of following Si's advice!

    Si -- I'm basically in the same boat as Akhater -- though I think I want somewhat taller trees with somewhat thicker trunks. However, I'm definitely going to want to make the same kind of chop in the next few years. Along these lines, I guess I have several questions:

    a) in the meantime, before the chop, should I be trying to develop foliage pads on branches I want to keep? O r just wait?
    b) how long should I wait for the chop? until the trunk is of the desired thickness? Or somewhat before?
    c) on a future cedar project, if I want to non-formal upright, e.g. one with some movement in the trunk, can I achieve that from trees like these by cut and grow or heavy bending? Or do I just have to come upon one that is naturally bent?

    Dan
     

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