Bald Cypress Repot and Trim

KoA360x

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Will baldcypress respond negatively towards a repoting after the buds have opened and growth has started. My cypress is in a pot i feel is too deep, and the soil is getting very compact and dosnt drain to well. Any suggestions on if i should repot or wait till next year?
 

Mellow Mullet

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Will baldcypress respond negatively towards a repoting after the buds have opened and growth has started. My cypress is in a pot i feel is too deep, and the soil is getting very compact and dosnt drain to well. Any suggestions on if i should repot or wait till next year?
Hello,

I have never repotted one that far along. I would wait until next spring, others might tell you different, but I always repot mine right before the bud break, just as they start to swell.

You could always loosen up the soil in the pot by shoving a chopstick or piece of metal rod (I have a piece of 1/4 inch stainless steel rod that I use) into the soil as far as you can go and then "wiggle" it in a circular motion, creating a nickel to quarter size hole. Fill that hole with new soil. Do this all in a half a dozen or so places around the root ball and it will help with the drainage. I have used this technique many times to make it to the next repotting season.

You could just throw the whole thing into tub of water for the summer and not worry about it. BC love to have their roots submerged and it will help to bulk the trunk up. I submerge all of mine from about Feb/March through October/November.
 

KoA360x

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Hello,

I have never repotted one that far along. I would wait until next spring, others might tell you different, but I always repot mine right before the bud break, just as they start to swell.

You could always loosen up the soil in the pot by shoving a chopstick or piece of metal rod (I have a piece of 1/4 inch stainless steel rod that I use) into the soil as far as you can go and then "wiggle" it in a circular motion, creating a nickel to quarter size hole. Fill that hole with new soil. Do this all in a half a dozen or so places around the root ball and it will help with the drainage. I have used this technique many times to make it to the next repotting season.

You could just throw the whole thing into tub of water for the summer and not worry about it. BC love to have their roots submerged and it will help to bulk the trunk up. I submerge all of mine from about Feb/March through October/November.
Thank you for the advice. I will probably wait till next year.
 

Mellow Mullet

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I repot when the buds are forming on the tree. I've never heard to do it when dormant.
Me too, that is what I meant by "just as they start to swell", I like to get them before they swell too much as they are so delicate and I end up knocking too many off. The question in post #82 was "Will baldcypress respond negatively towards a repoting after the buds have opened and growth has started"? Can't really recommend that, it might can be done by someone with a lot of experience if it was an emergency situation, but I think it is best just to wait.
 

Mellow Mullet

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Update:

I did some work on this tree last week while I was off so I thought that I would share it. If it sounds a little weird it is because to save time some of this is excerpts from an article that I am writing for my site. Anyway, on to the tree...

Looking around the interwebs, I cannot find much info on how to really train a BC as bonsai. Sure, you can find lots of stuff on how to dig them out of the swamp, carve the trunks, make a completely unrealistic flat-top, or even how to make really crappy looking fake knees by folding surface roots into a loop. There is, however, little info on just maintaining and managing the copious amounts of growth that they put out. While the flat-top style seems to be the most popular way to attempt to style BC, it is, to me, one of the most difficult to convincingly pull off. There are plenty of other BC examples to follow and they also lend themselves to other more traditional styles, too.

Anyhow, I wanted to share how I manage the growth and styling on this BC. It is certainly not the only way, or even the best way, but I have had a lot of success with it. On my site, I only show things that work for me so that if you try them, you should get similar results. This is what it looked like before any work began:

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It has a nice base for a pot grown tree. The tea bags contain organic fertilizer which seems to be all the rage now. I have used Osmacoat and Miracle Grow for years but decided to give organic a try. It is really not worth the trouble and the trees did not respond as well as they did to the inorganic stuff. And, it STINKS! So, I will be going back to strictly inorganic, I just have to figure out what to do with 500 empty tea bags. Here’s the base:

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A few shots of the apex, we’ll have to work on that later, it is really over-grown:

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Mellow Mullet

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Plenty of new growth to choose from and to wire:

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Normally, I will trim a tree before I apply wire, but on this particular BC, it is so overgrown that it is hard to tell what needs to go and what should stay. I this case I will wire every branch out before I trim it. I may remove a branch here or there that obviously needs to go or do a little directional pruning. Some of the branches with wire applied, but no movement added:

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Time to address the apex, if you look closely, you can see that it is developing two. You have to be careful with this because they can cause the trunk to swell and really mess up your taper, one of them has to go:
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Mellow Mullet

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This is what it looks like so far, all the branches wired and the apex lightened up:

DSC00748-20b.jpg

Now for the fun part, let’s put some movement into all of those branches that we wired. Don’t be afraid to really put some bends in them, BC are very flexible. As the branches thicken, the curves will soften up some.

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All of the branches placed with movement added:

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After all of that, I just trim back to the shape I want the tree to keep. Later, next spring, everything will probably get cut back shorter, the wire removed, and any new growth that I want to keep will be wired. The finished product:

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That's it for now, what do you think?
 

AZbonsai

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Normally, I will trim a tree before I apply wire, but on this particular BC, it is so overgrown that it is hard to tell what needs to go and what should stay.
My BC overgrown as well. I was thinking about letting the foliage die off in winter and then making some branch choices. Is this a good strategy?
 

Mellow Mullet

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My BC overgrown as well. I was thinking about letting the foliage die off in winter and then making some branch choices. Is this a good strategy?
It is, I am doing that with my clump and another that I have as I am lacking the time to do each of them. You could trim it now and get another flush so you will have more to choose from but waiting won't hurt either.
 

just.wing.it

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Awesome work John!
Making me want to get go work on my new BC....maybe I will today.

I love what you have done with it.....but I have to side with @rockm in reference to the dead trunk / jin....way too long.
I have mixed feelings about long jins in general, but this one is distracting for me.
 
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Mellow Mullet

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Awesome work John!
Making me want to get go work on my new BC....maybe I will today.

I love what you have done with it.....but I have to side with @rockm in reference to the dead trunk / jin....way too long.
I have mixed feelings about long kind in general, but this one is distracting for me.
I am gonna take a closer look at it this winter. Thanks!
 

Native Tree12

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That looks fantastic

I love what you did ..
Yes on styling .. We are the Bonsai Supply did a BC about a month ago I think they were going flat top

Just getting a big enough pot will /can be a challenge

I am still in the big tree in a barrel stage ..over 6 feet tall now
 
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