Cedrus lebani - Large Gem in the Rough

Rivka

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Found a promising gem hidden among the masses of vastly less interesting nursery stock, a Cedar of Lebanon that has clearly survived multiple destructive events, leading to amazing trunk taper. You can see where the leader got broken 2 or 3 times over the years.
So now I’m looking to learn more about a tree type that i have long liked, but not really owned. I have a weeping atlas and deodar cedars in landscaping and/or deck boxes, (but not in bonsai) and that’s as close as I get to this Species.

Have a list of questions, but I figure I would start with asking if anyone has good links or book they consider required or inspired reading on them?

Enjoy a couple of images from today when i spend 4 hours taking out a nest of tiny dead branches from the core and piles of moss from the tips. Despite the damage it has taken over the years, it is a strong tree with vigorous growth this year, the base of the visible trunk has got to be 5-7in diameter, with the main nice taper getting it up to under 1in in under 12” of height
before:
8DB604BE-E292-4DA9-9B80-337AAB1DCF2F.jpeg
After cleaning:
D01F78DF-4811-461A-8FFA-99C440D32325.jpeg
Likely the front is somewhere around this side:
8D2D5B14-9216-4935-A683-948E67F27254.jpeg
This side shows the taper well, though its frankly its the “boring” angle:
FC2C4C37-B6F8-46F8-A8F9-B5CD53F758AE.jpeg
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I've been reading a bit about cedrus, and it seems they're notoriously bad at backbudding. I'm very curious about how you're going to compact this design.
 

Rivka

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I've been reading a bit about cedrus, and it seems they're notoriously bad at backbudding. I'm very curious about how you're going to compact this design.
Hope that’s not true, or the answer to your pondering will be “with a lot of cursing”
 

Shibui

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Taper is certainly great and lots of branches to work with BUT
it seems they're notoriously bad at backbudding. I'm very curious about how you're going to compact this design.
Definitely agree with the above.
Try pruning as hard as you dare (don't cut below live, healthy needles or the branch is likely to die) to see if you can scare some buds on the bare sections but I think you will have to look at alternatives.
Learn to graft. I've not tried inarch or approach grafts on cedar but there's plenty of long, flexible branches to work with so that would probably be your best option as approach grafts don't rely on skill or experience.
Wire some exaggerated bends into the branches to bring foliage closer to the trunk (not always a good look)

Best of luck with this challenge.
 

Arnold

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Not going to be easy make it backbud near the trunk, but you always can make it into a literati or something
 

BobbyLane

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Its good material, i dont think the the last shot is boring. theres a chance to create some good jins so dont go mad on removing them, choose wisely because if you end up having to wire in and out to mimic foliage near the trunk you can use jins to obscure blank sections of branch.
Ryan neil is good at this he's done it on some conifers on mirai, watch the atlas cedar stream its well worth it.
 

BobbyLane

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Adair had a pine where he used a back branch as a side branch, in your case you can use jins to hide where the branch is comimg from, just a couple ideas although it is more desirable to have back budding.
 

Rivka

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Yeah I made the mistake in thinking it would back bud like a big deodar I have which has naturally. Now I read it is the outlier of the true cedars in that ability, doh!

Thankfully I actually have been studying and practicing grafting all last year with a moderate success, so it looks like I have a lot more of that in my future. And thankfully this tree has copious long flexible healthy branches i have no other use for than to become approach grafts to their own tree.



I’m going to work on a 3prong approach:

  1. Identify branches that I desperately hope to have in the final design and protect them from risky work, cut them small but healthy amount of green, so as not to risk the branch dying back and not being available for receiving grafts down the road.
  2. Figure out where to put a 5ft tall “bonsai”.
  3. Identify branches in good places for back-buds but where dieback would not be a disaster. Make sure base of branch is clean and gets good sun, aggressively cut back to lowest small healthy green.
  4. Go find a religion.
  5. Identify branches that have no place in final design and are long and thin enough to start bending into a full loop in preparation for use in approach grafting.
  6. Take up weightlifting.
  7. Consider slipping out its pot to inspect rootball to guide future potting schedule. Trimming the bottom 5” off the ball and installing a “french drain” of sorts in the bottom of the pot, so it can sit safely on the ground in oregon and not have to fret about wet feet.
  8. Protect from next year’s inevitable ice storm better than it clearly wasn’t from the last few years of them.


So yeah, easy peasy 🤣🤪

*I hold to “3 prong” here in the same way the HHGTTG claims to be a trilogy.
 
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Rivka

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for those of you that have worked these cedars, any input as to order and timeframe or season of doing the steps I lay out in the previous post?
 

August44

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Sorry...there is so much more out there that is so much better.
 

maroun.c

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I found Lebanese cedar tricky to get out of nursery pots.
Most especially large trunks ones have been in small pots for a long time so roots get leggy and u get many long circling roots which only have living roots at the end, as well as long elbowing roots which are hard to reduce. I've had mostly failures moving cedars out of nursery pots and not sure if its my technique or them being over sensitive to rootwork. At this stage I am trying the following 3 step approach reducing the roots height and surface takingnout q bit of the bottom and 2 sixes of a 6 part pie of the roots.
This will tax u 3-5 years to get the tree into bonsai soil. I wouldn't necessarily move to a bonsai pot still to allow more root space which would help give more vigor to the tree to facilitate backbudding.
Not sure about Lebanese cedar backbudding or not but have seen couple budds on trunk, if crackly bark has formed then I doubt it'll back budd.
In the time u get tree out of nursery soil you can layout the branches and wire them, keep more than you need as u might loose some, alsonwire them tonget good sun exposure.
Some advise to prune to backbud abd others allow to let the branches grow so more nutrient moves in the branch which triggers backbudding.
Good luck with it.
 

Pine_nut

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Yeah I made the mistake in thinking it would back bud like a big deodar I have which has naturally. Now I read it is the outlier of the true cedars in that ability, doh!

Thankfully I actually have been studying and practicing grafting all last year with a moderate success, so it looks like I have a lot more of that in my future. And thankfully this tree has copious long flexible healthy branches i have no other use for than to become approach grafts to their own tree.



I’m going to work on a 3prong approach:

  1. Identify branches that I desperately hope to have in the final design and protect them from risky work, cut them small but healthy amount of green, so as not to risk the branch dying back and not being available for receiving grafts down the road.
  2. Figure out where to put a 5ft tall “bonsai”.
  3. Identify branches in good places for back-buds but where dieback would not be a disaster. Make sure base of branch is clean and gets good sun, aggressively cut back to lowest small healthy green.
  4. Go find a religion.
  5. Identify branches that have no place in final design and are long and thin enough to start bending into a full loop in preparation for use in approach grafting.
  6. Take up weightlifting.
  7. Consider slipping out its pot to inspect rootball to guide future potting schedule. Trimming the bottom 5” off the ball and installing a “french drain” of sorts in the bottom of the pot, so it can sit safely on the ground in oregon and not have to fret about wet feet.
  8. Protect from next year’s inevitable ice storm better than it clearly wasn’t from the last few years of them.


So yeah, easy peasy 🤣🤪

*I hold to “3 prong” here in the same way the HHGTTG claims to be a trilogy.
I’m curious to see an update on how this tree is doing, any solid plans for the style?
 

Rivka

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got it repotted in the late winter, took it from a 25gal nursery container down to a deep Anderson flat (5gal). that was a bit scary, took nearly 8 hours!
let it sit the rest of the later winter early spring on a heatbed
found an even thicker base and decent nebari about 5 inched below the surface
IMG_8226.jpegIMG_8227.jpeg
decided to focus this spring and summer on building health and circle the branches around into place for the approach grafts. growth is looking fairly good for this year, watering in the new container is ok, but a lot of clay native soil remains and that is going to be a big thing to address in the next repot.

if i get strong growth over the summer with no tree killing heat spells like last year, i may start a good number of the grafts this fall, otherwise they will get started in the spring.
 

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