Cork Bark Elm

Jeremy

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This tree spent a brief amount of time in the ground where it never really thickened but I was able to get a good headstart on healing a wound up top. I liked the slow curve in the trunk and the nebari was pretty tidy for an Elm, but back when I purchased this tree I was all about thick trunks and taper. I believe it only spent 12 months in the ground, when I dug it up to work on the roots in Winter '16 I saw what could be a more feminine design and even drew a rough virtual.

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So now I had a plan for the tree but no room on the benches, I decided to pop it back in the ground another 12 months. Again, growth wasnt that great but it stayed alive and ready to begin life towards being a bonsai. Here it is in Winer '17 cut back hard to begin building the structure.

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By Summer it was beginning to grow well, the battle with Elms is rubbing off the uneccessary buds

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One year out of the ground and in a black nursery pot I decided to get this into a small bonsai pot in an attempt to build fine ramification. Winter '18

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In leaf Summer '19 with scale reference

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And as of today, Winter '19. There is still a lot of building of branches to be done but I'm happy with the progress to date. Looking back at my original vision for the tree I'm amazed that I have been able to mostly follow it, apart from the apex. My biggest gripe with this tree is that all the Cork bark down low was lost while planted in the ground, I think moisture played a part in that. With time it will grow back I just need to be patient. Just thought Id post a little progression series, would love any feedback if you've got it.

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Smoke

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Cork will only grow and STAY in direct sun. In shade it will go away.
 

Smoke

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If you get anything to pop down at the base, let it go. That trunk needs thickening down low. That branch cluster at the top has really swelled the trunk there.
 

Jeremy

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You're absolutely right, those 3 branches at the top are growing off a chop on the back side, the rolling callous isn't helping with the bulge. I'm not adverse to slight reverse taper but if it's going to get worse then I need to take action. I have been hoping for a low sacrifice but the only place a bud has popped is below the first branch right on the bend at the back. Do you think this is low enough or should I be aiming for something between that section and the roots? Thanks for the reply @Smoke
 

Smoke

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yea lower the better

All you will do is increase that first branch trunk area. If you have a small elm sitting around you could approach graft one down there and put it right where you need it. They knit in like six weeks or less.
 

Jeremy

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Duly noted, thankyou. I have a couple of small root cuttings from this tree so they should be perfect candidates. Spring is just arriving down here and the buds are swelling 👍
 

Jeremy

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Well ive really just let the tree dictate its growth with this one. The sacrifice branch is now a lot larger but hasnt began improving taper. I realise my earlier drawing had the apex heading left but the tree has gone right, not really sure what to do really. It does have a great spreading root base though.
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