Calocedrus decurrens (incense cedar)

parhamr

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April 2014
I collected this seedling from under a mature specimen. I am developing it into a formal upright.
YNYxBcy.jpg

May 2015 update
Zoxn6bZ.jpg

June 2015
IzmFNCr.jpg
I repotted with white pumice, red lava rock, and diatomaceous earth as the new media. The tree received ecto mycorrhizal inoculants, humic acid, and azomite granules as supplement.

October 2015
l284SM7.jpg
(note the wires to pull down branches)

January 2016
fcea9Fv.jpg
Moderate pruning to reduce canopy vigor and induce ramification.

Updates will come when relevant. This season I’m planning to continue with some wire training and to also let it grow out.
 
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0soyoung

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I predict that if you will eventually tire of straight trunked trees. Bonsai is more about curvy, zig-zagging, trunks that are wandering around a lot horizontally. It is not too late. Now is a also a good time to change the character of what you've got.

Go to your local auto parts store and buy a roll or two of self-amalgamating silicone tape (it is made for radiator hose repair). Wrap this tightly around the trunk (it will hold the bark and holds in moisture while transmitting vital oxygen), then some heavy wire, and bend the trunk into a (curvilinear) line you find interesting (you may also need some guy wires to hold some bends).

Don't hesitate because you are afraid. Don't be afraid.
Don't do it if you simply don't want to - that's okay.
You've done a nice job raising it.
 

parhamr

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@0soyoung I have some bendy and curvy trees that I have not yet posted :)

I appreciate your gentle pushing to be bold and make things happen!
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I am not certain about how Incense Cedar behaves but many of the greater Cedar-False Cedar-Cypress group do not back bud on bare branches. I would try to preserve green as close to the trunk and on the trunk were possible. While you are growing it out to thicken the trunk, the branches will become long and only have foliage at the tips. You need to keep some pruned tight and close to the trunk, to replace the long bare branches as you get closer to refining the bonsai. Bulk up trunk, using 'sacrifice branches', then replace those with the branches you kept short and close to the trunk.

It is the basic technique for developing a Hinoki - Chamaecyparis obtusa. Calocedrus and Thuja have similar growth patterns to Hinoki. Search Hinoki techniques.
 

parhamr

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I would try to preserve green as close to the trunk and on the trunk were possible. While you are growing it out to thicken the trunk, the branches will become long and only have foliage at the tips. You need to keep some pruned tight and close to the trunk, to replace the long bare branches as you get closer to refining the bonsai. Bulk up trunk, using 'sacrifice branches', then replace those with the branches you kept short and close to the trunk.
Thanks! I think that’s what I’ve been doing. Since the January 2016 pic I have performed some more selective pruning to ensure the inner growths are receiving adequate light. I’ve been paying close attention to the inner growths and it appears the tree is able to push latent buds (there are a lot of tiny buds near the base of the trunk—see the June 2015 pic) and also to make secondary branches increase in vigor.
 

bleumeon

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Looks great! I have hinokis but they really don't like the hot and dry summers I have here. Sometimes I'm not able to give it adequate watering during heat spikes when my time is consumed by classes. Then the tree suffers slight die back--not too bad but the tree is quick to direct energy to top and outer growth and sacrifice inner foliage. I'm love cypresses but I'm looking for hot weather alternatives.
 

parhamr

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Update: 44" tall with 1" trunk diameter. I performed more aggressive pruning of the midsection after confirming the tree was happy with the change in seasons. I've also set some guy wires to pull down branches. It's a bit ugly but with good intention and a dose of practicality—this foliage and the branch density both make for difficult detail wiring.

image.jpeg

I'm hoping to get the trunk two at least 2" in diameter when it will approach a more completed design. That suggests to me the target height will be around 30" and so I need to plan out some chop-n-grow techniques for taper at the crown.
 

parhamr

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After visiting a local nursery yesterday I now think I have incorrectly identified this tree! It appears to be a Cupressus.
 
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