Cork Elm Plans

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Here is a nice cork elm that I have been working on for a few years. First photo from two years ago shows some potential, but it has a nasty inverse taper and no development on the bottom of the tree. However, there were a few buds popping down there so I decided to grow them out and see if I could thicken the base.



Here you can see the 'sacrifice' branches after two years. I got a lot of growth and a surprising amount of thickening in the lower trunk. However the more I looked at it, the more I decided that even with major thickening I just wasn't going to end up with a bonsai I felt happy with. So next plan - air layer this Spring.



Here is the photo of the planned layer.



Here is a photo of the final planned bonsai (many of the branches will need to change - especially the lowest branch on the right). I would go with a deeper pot than normal due to the thickness of the trunk. The corking on the bark might even take me to a more masculine pot - something unglazed - though I really like the tokoname pot I have chosen for this virtual. I think the tree with green foilage might look really nice in this pot.



Finally, I will be left with a nice stump to play with as well :) I have no idea what I'd do with it at this moment, though I would try some new techniques for getting trunk scars to heal quickly.
 

Tachigi

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That puppy fattened up nice at the base Greg. Your going to end up with two nice pieces to develope
 

zelk

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i am impressed with how well the sacrifice branch helped in diminishing the reverse taper in the trunk.
i think this will be a great tree later on.



chris
 

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Well the airlayer is going well, but I was surprised at the thickness of the bark. Very thick and spongy. There are a profusion of roots now - I will probably separate the tree in a couple weeks.



Strange occurence - there are actually roots popping out high ABOVE the cut in the bark. I think this is due to the thickness of the bark and the fact that we have had a lot of rain and the bark has been damp. They will burn off when it gets dry this summer, but it is strange seeing roots pop where I have not done anything to the bark. I guess my rooting hormone must have got it in the mood :) The roots actually popped some of the bark off the tree from the inside - I did not touch the tree prior to taking this photo.

 

jadewtch

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About how long did it take for the roots to develop ? I have been waiting for mine , and can't decide if I did something wrong or if I am too impatient. Probably the latter.
 
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Wow that's kinda disgusting if you think of it as some sci-fi horror story!

Great job on this tree so far, Greg!
 

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About how long did it take for the roots to develop ? I have been waiting for mine , and can't decide if I did something wrong or if I am too impatient. Probably the latter.
I started the layer on Wednesday, February 14, so these photos were taken after exactly 5 weeks.
 

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Wow that's kinda disgusting if you think of it as some sci-fi horror story!
Yeah I agree - when I first saw it I kinda recoiled - like the trunk was full of worms or something. However more roots are better than none at all :) I fertilized the tree like mad to strengthen it prior to the air-layer, and then used pretty strong rooting hormone, so it seems to be going crazy - growth on the tree both above and below the layer is very strong, almost as if I never cut the tree...
 

Smoke

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You may find that the trunk may actually split in half. I have seen this happen many times on elms. I use no hormone or just weak talc based powders like roo-tone. Dip and grow or hormex, especially 30 will split trunks on elms if not careful.

Good luck, Al
 

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You may find that the trunk may actually split in half. I have seen this happen many times on elms. I use no hormone or just weak talc based powders like roo-tone. Dip and grow or hormex, especially 30 will split trunks on elms if not careful.

Good luck, Al
I will scrape off the roots and move it into brighter sun. Hopefully that will slow down the growth until I separate the layer and get it into the ground.
 

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One week later, and the time has come for the separation. Six weeks total to get to this point.

Removal of plastic indicates great root development:



An image after the separation, with the scar at the bottom of the tree sealed with cut paste. Nice roots all the way around.



Here it is in a temporary bonsai pot. I've left a number of low branchs right now for thickening of the base, but they will go fairly soon.



An image that shows it closer to the final planting angle. I will replant it at this angle (or a little further) next Spring. At that time I will also remove the sacrifice branches and start final branch selection and ramification development.



I will start a new thread with the development of the stump (leftover from the layer).
 

Rick Moquin

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Your well on your way to a beautiful shohin, please keep us posted. What does the parent tree look like these days?
 

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What does the parent tree look like these days?
It is just a stump. I cut it down below the lowest branch, and will try to develop a broom style. I'll take photos once growth starts to pop.
 

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Just a quick update to show people what the tree looks like approx. 10 weeks after separation.

1) The bonsai-to-be... clearly growing like mad. Separation did not appear to impact the vitality of the tree one bit.



2) The left-over trunk. I was hoping to get more growth from around the perimeter than just three new shoots. However since that is what I got, I am going to let them grow freely for a bit until the wound starts to close. I haven't decided what to do with this yet, so for the time being I will just wait to see how the tree evolves - right now I am thinking about grafts to get to a broom style, or else eliminating the secondary branches and choosing one leader. Who knows? :)



 

Rick Moquin

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Well I would have to say that that was indeed a succesful air layer. Both mother and baby seem to be doing fine and have recover well.
 

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So... my evil gardeners busted the pot on this bonsai today. I don't know how given that they aren't even supposed to be in this section of the yard, but every now and then I get "surprise" broken pots, moved trees, missing water nozzles, etc. At any rate, here are some photos of the root development to date. Just as well that the pot was broken - this tree has become root bound in a few short months :)



 

imholte

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That is quite impressive to get that much root growth from that tree in months. Just goes to show what trees in good condition can achieve, great job.
 

irene_b

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May I make a suggestion Greg?
recut the top till you find green and place a wet cotton ball on the top of the stump.
You will get real fast new leaders at the top.
Irene
 
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Bonsai Nut

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May I make a suggestion Greg?
recut the top till you find green and place a wet cotton ball on the top of the stump.
You will get real fast new leaders at the top.
Irene
I don't think I have enough trunk left to cut it down further, otherwise I agree with you I would already have done so. I think I am going to layer off two of the new leaders and develop the old trunk as an informal upright. Since I have taken these pictures, one of the leaders has already begun to heal over the top of the trunk scar. This tree grows so quickly I am going to plant the layered two leaders in the ground to develop long straight trunks to chop for broom-style in a couple of years.
 

Tachigi

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Nice job Greg! The layer really got a head of steam took off. Perhaps you could elaborate more on materials used on your layer (i.e. moss, hormone).

One question though. What happened to the stump. In a previous picture it looked like you had 3 healthy and plump leaders going?
 
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