Collected Thuja / Northern White Cedar

daudelus

Mame
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I recently dug this arbivitae / Thuja and wanted to get some early opinions on the usefulness / potential. I plan to let it rest as it is for a year or so and hope for something to bud down lower. I've read some contradictory info on the ability of this species to backbud... So, what do you think?
 

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amkhalid

Chumono
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I have some experience with thuja, mainly old collected specimens. Those don't bud back reliably. Definitely not on the trunk, but maybe in the crotches of the branches if you are lucky. They do bud back reliably on the young growth (1-2 years old) with proper pruning techniques.

Yours seems like a younger specimen, but I still wouldn't expect any reliable back budding where you need it. This leaves you with a nice base, but several spindly branches with foliage at the tips. The main trunk that was chopped will certainly die back. It looks like the strong part of the tree was cut off, and you are left with the weaker bottom branches which will need some time to regain vigor.

Thuja are a wonderful species for bonsai - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But my honest opinion is this is not the greatest starting material you have here. If you do get lucky with some back budding near the trunk, you may have some interesting material for carving.
 

Mark

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To my eyes it does not offer much. One option you might consider is Raft style. Before you start any styling see how it responds to a summer of care only.

Good luck!
Mark
 

daudelus

Mame
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Lancaster, PA (SE PA, USA) zone 6b, 7a
I have some experience with thuja, mainly old collected specimens. Those don't bud back reliably. Definitely not on the trunk, but maybe in the crotches of the branches if you are lucky. They do bud back reliably on the young growth (1-2 years old) with proper pruning techniques.

Yours seems like a younger specimen, but I still wouldn't expect any reliable back budding where you need it. This leaves you with a nice base, but several spindly branches with foliage at the tips. The main trunk that was chopped will certainly die back. It looks like the strong part of the tree was cut off, and you are left with the weaker bottom branches which will need some time to regain vigor.

Thuja are a wonderful species for bonsai - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But my honest opinion is this is not the greatest starting material you have here. If you do get lucky with some back budding near the trunk, you may have some interesting material for carving.

To my eyes it does not offer much. One option you might consider is Raft style. Before you start any styling see how it responds to a summer of care only.

Good luck!
Mark

Thanks for the honesty guys.. I like it! I don't necessarily like the confirmation on my own assumptions though :( ...
How far down on the main trunk would you assume there would be die back?
My thought throughout the collection was that if it does not back bud and becomes something that I can't use, I can always attempt to practice carving, etc on it, since I can always use practice!
 

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