Another Alaskan Yellow Cedar

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Since my friend grouper52 suggested that I post some pictures of the AYC I have been working on I decided I would take him up on that. I got my wife to take some pictures of its current state. These are such wonderful trees to work with. They are extremely flexible and can be wired very easily. Long branches can be shortened and gnarled to create the ancient image of a tortured tree.

This particular tree is still in the process of being created so many of the jins haven't been carved and some of the branches need to be removed. Foliage needs to be reduced and developed as well to support the image. I thought however you might enjoy to see a before picture and a few afters of its current state. The carved sections are best viewed from above but due to the angle we had the tree setting the best views of it aren't entirely represented here. Some of the sections need more attention/ smoothing to reduce some of the burrs etc. Detail work may be done at a later date to complete the detail on the deadwood. I also have plans to create another deadwood section higher in the tree to continue this ancient look. For those that may be wondering I did not kill most of this area instead it died back from sunscald and thus presented this great opportunity.

I hope you all enjoy.

Before



After



Details





 

grouper52

Masterpiece
Messages
2,371
Reaction score
3,584
Location
Port Orchard, WA
USDA Zone
8
I'm very glad you posted this beauty. Many folks might look at such a tree in it's before picture and wonder why you would even bother. Perhaps at least a few of them can start to see why now!

I think the overall design is off to a great start. The foliage should respond quickly to pruning, with an attractive look in just a few years. The same with the carving work, which is very nicely done. Further refinement will help with the deadwood's appearance, but time will do even more as it naturally ages and desiccates over the next few years and decades.

I think it's very well done so far, and with great promise. Kudos.
 

JasonG

Chumono
Messages
786
Reaction score
15
Location
NW Oregon
Not a bad start on this one Eric. Cedar are tough to work with because the foliage just doesn't really want to ever get away from that wheepy stage.... I look forward to seeing how you combat that. Also, what are your plans on the deadwood carving to make it look more natural or take away the tool marks? Do you use a still wire wheel, sand paper, etc...?? Just curious to know your plans on this.

THanks for posting,

Jason
 

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
@Will Thank you!!! I do hope people will start to see how even the most impossible looking trees can truly gain a future when you are working with such a malleable species. With the movement being set on the large branches the next few years will be focused on wiring the smaller branches and compacting that foliage.

@JasonG We treat the foliage of AYC just the same way we do Hinoki. the fronds are pruned by hand to be very short and compact and kep that way. What you see in this pic is the tree before this treatment has been applied as it is still in a recovery state. To combat the tools marks on the wood some of it will be hit with a wire brush and some will be worked with a dremel to smooth edges. Some of it will simply be left alone and the tool marks will add to the character of the tree. Cedar in nature weathers to fine sharp edges and is often found to have similar shapes to what you see here. Some of the burrs may be removed by use of a small torch tho nature will take care of some of it.

You can see that it has naturally already started to check and crack on its own. This happened After I began carving it. you can also see that the wood naturally gets a wonderful grey colour to it. I have not/will not apply lime sulfur to this tree as there is no need for it.
 

Paul H.

Seedling
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
You have a real nice start on the tree . Good eye . Will look forward to seeing more pics inthe futureof this tree. Paul
 

grouper52

Masterpiece
Messages
2,371
Reaction score
3,584
Location
Port Orchard, WA
USDA Zone
8
The White Cedar gallery on the TBS website proves beyond doubt that the foliage can be made beautiful with the right approach. http://www.torontobonsai.org/
Like the Western Red cedar, the Eastern White cedar is a Thuja. The Alaska Yellow cedar is a Chamaecyparis, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. The foliage IS similar, however, unlike the Eastern Red cedar, which is a juniper. None of these, of course, are "true" cedars, which are not native to this hemishpere. Your "cedar chests", for instance, that smell so good are not made of cedar at all! Confusing, yes? :D

But, like I said the foliage looks very similar, and the AYC foliage, although it tends to droop down, can be made to look just fine.
 

greerhw

Omono
Messages
1,978
Reaction score
11
Is the northern White Cedar a juniper, if so will it live in southern climates like zone 7.

keep it green,
Harry
 

Dwight

Chumono
Messages
599
Reaction score
7
Location
El Paso , TX
Harry , you're thinking of the Virginia cedar ( I think ) J. virgianis or something.

BTW , Eric , great tree.
 

good_ol_jr77

Sapling
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Is the northern White Cedar a juniper, if so will it live in southern climates like zone 7.

keep it green,
Harry
The white cedar is Thuja Occidentalis aka arborvitae, I'm not sure how that would do by you. Are they used in landscapes down there?
 

greerhw

Omono
Messages
1,978
Reaction score
11
The white cedar is Thuja Occidentalis aka arborvitae, I'm not sure how that would do by you. Are they used in landscapes down there?
I wouldn't know what I was looking for, too many different cedars and junipers here for me to keep up with. I guess I will have to talk to my nursery to find out if they grow here. Even if they grow in the ground, that doesn't mean they will survive in a pot. Anyone south of Nebraska have any luck with them..?

This one could live with me.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/3506399980/

keep it green,
Harry
 
Last edited:

Dav4

Drop Branch Murphy
Messages
10,895
Reaction score
20,333
Location
North Georgia/lived in MA until 2009
USDA Zone
7b
Harry, arborvitaes like relatively cool temps and live in climates with lots of rainfall. I think keeping them in Oklahoma would be difficult.

Dave
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,682
Reaction score
12,365
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Arborvitae (white cedar) are used extensively as landscape plants here in Va. Reiner Goebel's white cedar bonsai has been living at the National Arboretum's North American pavillion for a long while now.
 

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
I realized this picture had a little more detail and allowed you to see the foliage more clearly. Since all of the branches you see wrapped in orange were straight and sticking out from the tree you can see that the finer branch placement has been left till later. The reasoning behind this is that the finer branches on AYC and other cedars (thuja and chaems) as I understand it are finacy about how they are wired. So as not to stress the tree too much I saved the finer wiring for later. Also due to there being some dieback (a couple small branches) I felt it was best to wait.



@Harry I am glad you are finding an interest in Cedars in general. You may also want to look at hinoki Cypress. They are cold hardy zones 4-8 and with proper watering you and partial shade you should be able to keep them happy. They will need extensive pruning every few years as they are slow growing but get extremely dense and beautiful dark green foliage. I am not sure how they do in OK but you could try and find out.
 

Dwight

Chumono
Messages
599
Reaction score
7
Location
El Paso , TX
I think Atlas cedars will survive there also Harry. The Sunset book says they will survive here.
 

greerhw

Omono
Messages
1,978
Reaction score
11
I realized this picture had a little more detail and allowed you to see the foliage more clearly. Since all of the branches you see wrapped in orange were straight and sticking out from the tree you can see that the finer branch placement has been left till later. The reasoning behind this is that the finer branches on AYC and other cedars (thuja and chaems) as I understand it are finacy about how they are wired. So as not to stress the tree too much I saved the finer wiring for later. Also due to there being some dieback (a couple small branches) I felt it was best to wait.





@Harry I am glad you are finding an interest in Cedars in general. You may also want to look at hinoki Cypress. They are cold hardy zones 4-8 and with proper watering you and partial shade you should be able to keep them happy. They will need extensive pruning every few years as they are slow growing but get extremely dense and beautiful dark green foliage. I am not sure how they do in OK but you could try and find out.
Nice tree Ang, but I have killed my limit of hinoke's already.

keep it green,
Harry
 

ghues

Omono
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
2,168
Location
Campbell River BC Canada
USDA Zone
7b
Foliage development

Eric/Will,
I’d like to review Jason’s following comment on the foliage of the yellow cedar,
“Cedars are tough to work with because the foliage just doesn't really want to ever get away from that wheepy stage.... I look forward to seeing how you combat that”.

Like you, I really like yellow Cedars and when I look at the large old ones in the wild I love the feather like foliage that hangs down from the branches. In general the foliage is on the lower part of the branch with the top part of the branch being bare, which seems to be contradictory to the theme of foliage pad development for say Pines.
So, I am wondering what your thoughts are on this….i.e. are you going to develop them traditional.... as pads/clouds? (like a juniper).... or try and keep a more natural look of lacy, feathery downward facing/falling foliage?
Cheers
G
 
Last edited:

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Eric/Will,
I’d like to review Jason’s following comment on the foliage of the yellow cedar,
“Cedars are tough to work with because the foliage just doesn't really want to ever get away from that wheepy stage.... I look forward to seeing how you combat that”.

Like you, I really like yellow Cedars and when I look at the large old ones in the wild I love the feather like foliage that hangs down from the branches. In general the foliage is on the lower part of the branch with the top part of the branch being bare, which seems to be contradictory to the theme of foliage pad development for say Pines.
So I am wondering what your thoughts are on this….i.e. are you going to develop them traditional as pads/clouds? (like a juniper).... or try and keep a more natural look of lacy, feathery downward facing/falling foliage?
Cheers
G
The bad news... we aren't very "traditional" around here :p (Will, Vic, Daniel, Myself)

So the good news... we can do both!! ... Some of Daniel's have large thick fronds that have strong structure. Others have more delicate foliage and still has a littl bit of weeping. Personally I will be pinching back the foliage to become tighter and have more structure but it will still have that feeling of AYC. With aggresive pinching like we do with hinoki we can create wonderful delicate images. The real idea here at least for me is to compact the foliage and make it more lush as well as letting sections grow strong to create new branching and structure. What isn't there now can be grown over the years to create the image of an ancient tree. The good news on that front is that Ancient trees often (not always) have less foliage that their younger counterparts.

Since Will has had more time working actively on the foliage I will let him explain his philosophy in more depth.
 

grouper52

Masterpiece
Messages
2,371
Reaction score
3,584
Location
Port Orchard, WA
USDA Zone
8
Eric/Will,
I’d like to review Jason’s following comment on the foliage of the yellow cedar,
“Cedars are tough to work with because the foliage just doesn't really want to ever get away from that wheepy stage.... I look forward to seeing how you combat that”.

Like you, I really like yellow Cedars and when I look at the large old ones in the wild I love the feather like foliage that hangs down from the branches. In general the foliage is on the lower part of the branch with the top part of the branch being bare, which seems to be contradictory to the theme of foliage pad development for say Pines.
So I am wondering what your thoughts are on this….i.e. are you going to develop them traditional as pads/clouds? (like a juniper).... or try and keep a more natural look of lacy, feathery downward facing/falling foliage?
Cheers
G
I think it's a good question, Graham.

As a mere hobbyist (finally got the spelling of that word right :) ), I've never felt too much of a need to do anything at all merely because it's tradition or because someone says I ought to do it for aesthetic reasons. This is an attitude that has increased for me over time. I think, for instance, that traditional foliage pads are inappropriate for many types of trees, or simply for many trees in general, and I think slavish adherence to them has often absolutely ruined a tree that I might have found attractive otherwise. I know of no quicker foliage-related way to make a tree look like a bonsai, rather than like a tree, than by a hypertrophied use of foliage pads, with the possible exception of the "green helmet" look.

While I am not a slavish student of Dan Robinson either, I have noticed a profound impact on the attractiveness of my trees, to my eyes, since incorporating his Focal Point Bonsai Design concepts into my styling decisions. Basically, each tree is filled with a great many visual elements that vie for our attention, and this can lead to an overwhelming or confused impression if there is not a "focal point" on each tree that draws the eye in like a magnet, and which then creates in our mind a unifying point of departure and a touchstone to return to when our eye wanders over the rest of the tree. Typically, this will best be an interesting feature near the base, but even more captivating for the eye is some interesting or striking deadwood element, which is why Dan places such emphasis on deadwood and carving. Everything else, then, is quite secondary and subordinate to this focal point, especially the foliage, which is mostly just used to compliment and frame the focal point. Placing the foliage in this sort of a role allows much greater freedom to actually shape the branch and foliage structures into a more natural appearance. The goals would not necessarily be to create foliage pads or intricate ramification or such, but to create foliage placement and appearance that emulates what we might see in nature on such a tree, and which meets the tree's need to allow that branch and the ones below it to get adequate light, AND which at the same time helps to frame and accentuate the focal point.

These trees naturally weep a bit - there is no reason, IMO, to see that as an inherent negative if we cannot get them to cooperate into traditional foliage pads (which they will do to a certain extent anyway), but perhaps instead we can see that as another element that can be used to create a natural look that also compliments the tree's focal point.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, or Dan's thoughts filtered through my experience with them. Hope that helps. :)
 

Ang3lfir3

Omono
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
17
Location
Bremerton, WA
USDA Zone
8b
See... this is why Will is the writer and I am not....

Very well put... an important thought to have is that foliage is subordinate to the trunk and deadwood/focal point . in this case most of the fronds will be turned to keep them growing in a flat fashion. Some will be wired up and bent while others will be wired down. Foliage is kept parrallel to the ground for the most part.

I keep mentioning the hinoki's because the AYC is also a chamy and Daniel treats them the same. Often referring to the AYC as "the American Hinoki".

An example can be seen here :
(This is one of Daniel's trees as displayed in the PNBCA convention last year)

(taken from http://pnbca.com/conv2008/exhibit3.html )

Note that the majority of the foliage is flat however the image does not have a flat look to it... instead it looks reailistic and natural.

Achieving a similar image with AYC is certainly desirable (for me) and should be easily possible.
 
Top Bottom