A day of shohin coastal redwoods

Brian Underwood

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Santa Rosa, CA
I spent a nice full day going through my three new shohin redwoods from Mendocino Coast Bonsai. I always tell myself I don't need any more redwoods, and then I go to a show and see all of them lined up on the MC Bonsai vendor table, and I can't resist! I tried to take before, middle, wired, and "finished" pictures as I went, but not all of them got in there.

This first one was perhaps my favorite of the three. It has a double trunk thing goin on, as well as some interesting curves, bumps, and a possible uro (hollow) in the front. The first step in styling these trees is to determine the lowest branch, then remove all of the branches below that. After removing all the lower branches, go through the rest of the tree and remove branches close together, find an acceptable apex, and try to leave a couple options just in case you break something off in the process. After main branch selection, pinch the foliage back to encourage backbudding on the branches (and trunk), and wire it up.

Before wiring, I decided this one needed some sort of hollow in the obtrusive cut off branch in the front. Since carving has been my thing recently this decision wasn't hard to make, though it may not always be the right course of action. I hollowed the branch about 2" into the tree and burned it out with a small torch and wood-burning tool. Unfortunately I may have killed part of the apex in the process (not enough protection from heat), and nicked a branch on the left which may or may not survive. But, no worries, there will be plenty of new branches to choose from later this summer.



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The mistakes were made while grinding down the hollowed branch, reducing it's obtrusion a little more. We'll see what happens...


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This one also has some very interesting movement in the trunk, including a little see-through portion which I like very much. When I got to repotting it, there was a lot of wood beneath the soil surface, so it was planted a little higher up and at an angle that I found pleasing. This one sold last week...


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Beautiful. Wish we could buy these around here :(
Thank you! You can most likely get them shipped to you from either MC Bonsai (http://mcbonsai.com/) or other distributors in CA. The only problem is keeping them alive outside their natural growing area. Good luck!

This was my least favorite, and turned out to be one of the better ones. I didn't even bother taking a before picture, but it looked bushy and overgrown like the last two and was about 5" taller. The tall part was strait and boring, so I carved it down and burned it. Pretty sweet...


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Nice work on these. I do have a couple of questions -

1) What are the dimensions (base width and height) of the third tree? Are they all roughly the
same size?

2) Do you have any shohin sized redwoods that you've been working on for a longer period
of time? I'm wondering how well they respond over time, as I know they are very aggressive
growers. I have one that I acquired from Brent W. about 4 years ago, been growing it out for
trunk and probably am going to aim for a larger (maybe 18-24 inch tall) final tree. I am
considering obtaining a tree like one of these from Mendocino, that I can work on while the
other one grows. I'm definitely not in prime redwood country (western NY!) but so far Brent's
tree is growing very well.

Thanks! Sorry for the delayed response. These trees are all roughly the same size; 6-8 inches tall and 2-3 inch trunks. I have only one redwood which I have been working on for an extended period of time (3 years) which is larger, but they all respond the same. If you have adequate fertilization and watering they will be very aggressive growers, putting out new growth all over the trunk and existing branches. Over time, with pruning, they will start to get much more compact growth in on the branches and after a little longer will start to get secondary (woody) growth on the branches as well. It is almost a waste of time and effort to grow these from seed or young trees because there is such an abundance of amazing collected material (its just a little more pricey). I will be making a trip up to MC Bonsai in the next month or two for some more trees, which I will ship anywhere in the US. PM me if you want estimated prices and such.

Thanks for your response and for referring me to your other thread (which I had seen before but forgot about). How big is that tree (base and height)? I didn't see a size listed in the thread, but even that one doesn't look overly large.

Yeah, when I started I didn't realize all the collected material was readily available. I don't mind growing out the one I do have, that's always an interesting process. Would be much easier if I could put it in the ground, but that won't work up here!

The larger redwood in my other thread is about 14" tall with maybe a 4" trunk. Those are just guestimates, but the trunk is pretty darn big.
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