Coastal Redwood Tree. Too Large to Train as Prebonsai?

Hermes33

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I found someone locally with Redwood small trees. They are in a 5 gallon pot Any suggestions on what to do initially? As you will note in last picture they have multiple low level trunks/branches coming out and wondering if I can propagate these. Dimensions below.

Height: 49in
Spread: 28in near middle
Trunk: 1 1/4in549E5CC8-CA89-4834-87BA-7D9EDA0786A6.jpeg4800C6B5-1368-41CC-BDBE-F357B4A224BC.jpegA4DC761F-C497-4741-A17F-F36F76F0ACC9.jpeg
Age: Around 2 years or so.
 

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First I have no experience with redwood . Not something you find in Canada πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. But that is not to big to train . Not by a long shot . Multiple options exist . Basically the tree can be cut down and a low branch wires up and trained as a leader . To start a bonsai . I think you will find a lot of more experienced people would allow the teee to grow as is. Be careful to keep lower branches as a future top . And use the existing top to grow as a sacrificial piece . This will create a larger base of the trunk in a faster rate . Essentially when the trunk is the size you want then you chop it down and start to create a bonsai . At this time a great thing to do is wire the tree to add movement in the lower trunk . Again think of the lowest portion as the future tree
 

Hermes33

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Thanks for the input. Is the basic idea like in the picture below? Once it gets to the desired height (which is already above), keep the portion that will eventually be the final tree (things change) trimmed within the final frame (the triangle) while allowing the leader to grow to develop a larger trunk? What about sacrifice branches like the low one drawn? Should they be near the base of the trunk? Do I clear out all other branches near trunk base? Will the leader detract from growing thicker lower branches? Sorry for all the questions.... I am very new.



image0 (1).jpeg
 

hemmy

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Thanks for the input. Is the basic idea like in the picture below? Once it gets to the desired height (which is already above), keep the portion that will eventually be the final tree (things change) trimmed within the final frame (the triangle) while allowing the leader to grow to develop a larger trunk? What about sacrifice branches like the low one drawn? Should they be near the base of the trunk? Do I clear out all other branches near trunk base? Will the leader detract from growing thicker lower branches? Sorry for all the questions.... I am very new.



View attachment 464941
Yes, your drawing might be how you would develop an upright formal pine style tree. Although the eventual trunk line might be a series of wired portions to get taper. You might also have sacrifice portions on multiple lower branches to increase their size and proportion to the trunk.

BUT, if you want a coastal redwood style tree then you might not want a classical triangular canopy. Notice below that most of the lower branches aren’t the longest since they’d get shaded out anyway. Of course the nuance, comes into play when you decide if you are representing the image of a redwood from far-away or a more vertical forced perspective more exaggerated taper. Also notice the asymmetry of the canopy outline. There are nice looking triangular redwood bonsai. But for me they don’t capture the unique character of the tree.
E3F29189-C56C-4ABD-B529-D0DDB36BC302.jpeg

When I was growing one in SoCal, the leader after a chop was quite vigorous but I didn’t grow it tall or long enough to get perfect transition of taper. But it was going from a 2-3” diameter at the upper chop to a 1/4-1/2” dia leader. The lower branches did not thicken with extension and needed increased foliage mass to get thicker. It is an apically dominant tree that needs branches to grow straight up to really increase girth. I let mine grow pretty wild in a 3 gal container for a few years and didn’t really notice much thickening. I believe to get a thick trunk you will need to let it get tall. Or maybe train some low sacrifice branches out and up to grow vigorously. You can flat cut the roots/base so don’t worry about growing in a larger container or letting the the roots grow too thick before chopping. You might try letting the roots escape into another pot or into the ground if you can’t just plant it in the ground to thicken. If you go for a more natural coast redwood form, keep the branches short and the foliage tight. They are fun to grow. If you get comfortable keeping them alive, then you might look at Mendocino Coast Bonsai for some more advanced pre-bonsai.
 
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What I suggested is in such a apical dominant species. The nature of the tree is to put energy into the leader . By allowing this to continue this will increase the size of the base . Essentially using the leader ad a sacrificial part of the tree . . Attempting to use lower branches as sacrificial will most likely fail as the tree will not invest much energy into them . Allow the top to grow unrestrained . As you continue you can cut back the tip and train a branch up to be the new leader . This is using what the tree wants to do to your advantage . At this stage you are growing a trunk
To become a bonsai latter . Keep he lower branch’s they will be used to make the future tree . . I’m also suggesting since your starting with such young materiel. Wire the tree and aggressively bend the lower trunk . This will add movement and create a interesting lower trunk latter . Something hard to do latter that is possible know . Yea most redwoods are very straight trunked formal upright trees that’s because they were started with older materiel and no one did the prep when young . This will create something hard to find in 15 or 20 years . The formal upright style is actually fairly difficult to achieve well . You can of course go that route with this tree . But there is opportunity here . A older tree cut down is far faster route to a formal upright In short grow the top to create trunk surpress the growth of the lower branches but keep them for the future wire the tree and bend it . Next step would be repot into a large Shalow container and start spreading the roots out radially around the trunk all this needs to be done at correct time of year . Up hear I would not wire a tree in winter but should be fine unfrozen in Cali . Others are better to ask that repot in spring start to create what will be a bonsai in 15 years but create a bonsai out of what you have today
 

Ugo

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Hi!

Just to add to the discussion, I found this dawn redwood grown in field alone with big size lower branches.
Since we dont really know how they are suppose to look like Im still wondering if the bigger lower branches can still be used in the future design.

This is just to show the OP that lower branches can still be encouraged to grow thicker desoite the apical dominance of the tree.

Screenshot_20221201_193802_Facebook.jpg

Screenshot_20221202_005804_Facebook.jpg
 

BonsaiNaga13

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Hi!

Just to add to the discussion, I found this dawn redwood grown in field alone with big size lower branches.
Since we dont really know how they are suppose to look like Im still wondering if the bigger lower branches can still be used in the future design.

This is just to show the OP that lower branches can still be encouraged to grow thicker desoite the apical dominance of the tree.

View attachment 464992

View attachment 464991
Dawn redwood is a dwarf in comparison to costal redwood and not truly apexically dominant.
 
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rockm

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I found someone locally with Redwood small trees. They are in a 5 gallon pot Any suggestions on what to do initially? As you will note in last picture they have multiple low level trunks/branches coming out and wondering if I can propagate these. Dimensions below.

Height: 49in
Spread: 28in near middle
Trunk: 1 1/4inView attachment 464911View attachment 464912View attachment 464913
Age: Around 2 years or so.
This tree is too SMALL to effectively use as a redwood bonsai. It's spindly and spindly-looking. A few years grown out in the ground would do it good. FWIW, redwood and sequoia have long been bonsai subjects in Cali. The experts and in-the-know folks out there use collected stumps to begin bonsai.

Examples of what's possible--
 

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Ugo

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Dawn redwood is a dwarf in comparison to costal redwood and not truly apexically dominant.
My bad..
I once again read a bit too fast thinking we were talking about Dawn Redwood :(
It it indeed totally different.
Sorry!
 
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Hi!

Just to add to the discussion, I found this dawn redwood grown in field alone with big size lower branches.
Since we dont really know how they are suppose to look like Im still wondering if the bigger lower branches can still be used in the future design.

This is just to show the OP that lower branches can still be encouraged to grow thicker desoite the apical dominance of the tree.

View attachment 464992

View attachment 464991
Leo you know I think highly of you so don’t take this the wrong way . But where exactly do you have the horse shoe stuck . πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜Ž Dawn redwood in a field with taper near your house . πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ Did it pop out of the ground with out a shovel also 😎😎😎😎😎😎
 
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Leo you know I think highly of you so don’t take this the wrong way . But where exactly do you have the horse shoe stuck . πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜Ž Dawn redwood in a field with taper near your house . πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ Did it pop out of the ground with out a shovel also 😎😎😎😎😎😎
Sorry wrong name but still true lucky find
 
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BonsaiNaga13

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My bad..
I once again read a bit too fast thinking we were talking about Dawn Redwood :(
It it indeed totally different.
Sorry!
No problem just saying, the dawn redwoods at missouri botanical gardens have low branches thick enough and low enough to sit on. Costal redwoods lowest branches are probably 25 - 60 feet or more up.
 

Ugo

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Leo you know I think highly of you so don’t take this the wrong way . But where exactly do you have the horse shoe stuck . πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜Ž Dawn redwood in a field with taper near your house . πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ Did it pop out of the ground with out a shovel also 😎😎😎😎😎😎
Ahahah, good one!
Now when I said I found the tree I should add a few precisions.
It wasnt near my house!
I found it in a nursery in BC, it was grown in the field, without much manipulations.
I choosed the tree and they dug it out for me, with a shovel indeed!
 
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Ahahah, good one!
Now when I said I found the tree I should add a few precisions.
It wasnt near my house!
I found it in a nursery in BC, it was grown in the field, without much manipulations.
I choosed the tree and they dug it out for me, with a shovel indeed!
Nice find was wondering . How you just found it in a field . Did you chop
The trunk just curious how they respond to a drastic chop
 

Hermes33

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Hi!

Just to add to the discussion, I found this dawn redwood grown in field alone with big size lower branches.
Since we dont really know how they are suppose to look like Im still wondering if the bigger lower branches can still be used in the future design.

This is just to show the OP that lower branches can still be encouraged to grow thicker desoite the apical dominance of the tree.

View attachment 464992

View attachment 464991
This was one of the trees found in the grove that you extracted from the ground and removed the top? About how thick is the trunk and tall was the tree when found? Thanks!
 

Hermes33

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This tree is too SMALL to effectively use as a redwood bonsai. It's spindly and spindly-looking. A few years grown out in the ground would do it good. FWIW, redwood and sequoia have long been bonsai subjects in Cali. The experts and in-the-know folks out there use collected stumps to begin bonsai.

Examples of what's possible--
Thank you for the info!
 

Ugo

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Nice find was wondering . How you just found it in a field . Did you chop
The trunk just curious how they respond to a drastic chop
This was one of the trees found in the grove that you extracted from the ground and removed the top? About how thick is the trunk and tall was the tree when found? Thanks!

Hi!

The background story is that this tree was grown from seed about 30yrs ago as a test.
It seems to have been "trimmed and maintained" for about 20ish years and left out on its own.
I can't see major chop marks except the one Ive done.
You can see a major "T" branche was removed at the height of tje second branche.
When found it was about 6ft tall with thick lateral branches.
It was chopped down to about 14inch and now mesure 16inches with a 3.5in base.
Last repotted in March 22' in its current pot.

From my limited experience they react well to trunk chop when done at the right time but if you cut too much at once it will backbud everywhere instead of adding to the branches structure
It almost become a problem to a certain extend as this tree is really vigorous.
The repot into a smaller pot start to show its benefits, slowing down the growing rate so I will now be able to concentrate on building secondary and tertiary.
 
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Hi!

The background story is that this tree was grown from seed about 30yrs ago as a test.
It seems to have been "trimmed and maintained" for about 20ish years and left out on its own.
I can't see major chop marks except the one Ive done.
You can see a major "T" branche was removed at the height of tje second branche.
When found it was about 6ft tall with thick lateral branches.
It was chopped down to about 14inch and now mesure 16inches with a 3.5in base.
Last repotted in March 22' in its current pot.

From my limited experience they react well to trunk chop when done at the right time but if you cut too much at once it will backbud everywhere instead of adding to the branches structure
It almost become a problem to a certain extend as this tree is really vigorous.
The repot into a smaller pot start to show its benefits, slowing down the growing rate so I will now be able to concentrate on building secondary and tertiary.
Thanks my main interest was the chop . Thinking if the possibility of a nursery potted tree . And or development in the ground . I have a higher end garden nursery here that has good stock of dwarf and specialty conifers . They have some 6 footers . But no low branches
 
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