Critique my trees! Cedrus, Chamaecyparis and Cryptomeria

Jzack605

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Ok here is three of four of my trees that I am styling for bonsai. I have a handful of Dawn Redwoods. Bald Cypress and a Locust but they are all whips. Looking for some critique and advice! So far been just watching videos for inspiration, images, reading, looking at plants and just kind of seeing what the plant "wants". So lay it on me straight.

Cedrus deodara (some kind of blue variety): What I did to this tree made me cringe. I hate "topping" trees from a professional standpoint and often times it throws me down a rant. I DO however love the flat topped habit old Cedrus will often get. I attached an image of a rough idea of where I would like to eventually go in terms of emulating a tree in the wild which is a large Cedrus deodara in Pakistan. Other than the topping I thinned it out a bit and got rid of downward facing branchlets.

Cedrus-deodara-National-symbol-of-Pakistan-at-Chitral-Gol-National-Park-site.png IMG_0430.JPG IMG_0429.JPG

Cyrptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon': I love Cryptomeria and was pretty excited to get one to work on. I really want to make this one work out and have been trying to get it to a point where it has 'pads' like the two in the image attached. I've been reading a ton into this, and found some good videos. Does this look like it is on its way? I also did clip where it was too big to pinch out (see image) and hope that I will still get new growth from the browning? I did put it in a shadyish spot after, but does not look like it was shady enough. Nor did I mist which probably would have been ideal. Other than thinning it out and trying to get where I want the pads to develop I trained some branches more downward with fishing line.

s-l300.jpg IMG_0433.JPG IMG_0434.JPG IMG_0435.JPG

Chamaecyparis obtusa: This is one of two Hinoki Cypress I am working on. I have posted the other before. I haven't really based this off of much other than I liked the movement the tree mostly already had and the goal to develop "pads" as well. I have wired this one and been pinching. This one probably gets the most attention right now. After taking the image I noticed the top needed some work.

IMG_0431.JPG

So do they suck? Did I butcher some nice trees?
 

0soyoung

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I hate "topping" trees from a professional standpoint and often times it throws me down a rant. I DO however love the flat topped habit old Cedrus will often get.
When you are working on a landscape/forest tree, topping is indeed often a bad thing. However in bonsai, after chopping you wire up a branch to become the new apex - this is how you get a tapering trunk that makes the little bonsai 'believable'.

A flat topped tree or one with a very rounded top is often the result of a tree that has grown so long that it has attained the height at which the species can no longer raise water (through the xylem lumens). Of course, there are some species that only grow this way, but them aside, flat top is the image of an old tree. It ought to have a gnarly/old-bark trunk.

I think you are getting the cart before the horse. You need thicker trunks. There is a rule of thumb that your tree should only be about 6x to 12x the thickness of the trunk base (above the nebari). Higher ratios tending to literati; smaller for approaching sumo. It looks to me that your trunks are 1" at most, so your tree's should be about 6 to 12 inches tall. I'm sure your reaction is that this is ridiculously short.

So, I think you need thicker trunks.
 

Rid

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Are you sure that deodar cedar in pakistan isn't a lebanese cedar?
 

Jzack605

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When you are working on a landscape/forest tree, topping is indeed often a bad thing. However in bonsai, after chopping you wire up a branch to become the new apex - this is how you get a tapering trunk that makes the little bonsai 'believable'.

A flat topped tree or one with a very rounded top is often the result of a tree that has grown so long that it has attained the height at which the species can no longer raise water (through the xylem lumens). Of course, there are some species that only grow this way, but them aside, flat top is the image of an old tree. It ought to have a gnarly/old-bark trunk.

I think you are getting the cart before the horse. You need thicker trunks. There is a rule of thumb that your tree should only be about 6x to 12x the thickness of the trunk base (above the nebari). Higher ratios tending to literati; smaller for approaching sumo. It looks to me that your trunks are 1" at most, so your tree's should be about 6 to 12 inches tall. I'm sure your reaction is that this is ridiculously short.

So, I think you need thicker trunks.
Yes! Definitely need to thicken them up. I was hoping I would attain that by keeping them in nursery pots and limiting their growth by pinching new foliage/pruning back in hopes of sending the energy to the trunks for at least a few years.
 

Rid

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Pretty sure it is a Deodar based on the google search and Deodar being the Pakistan national tree.
i've never been to pakistan, but i bet there are trees other than deodar cedars growing there. google clinches it, though.
 

Jzack605

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I'm sure there are plenty of tree's in Pakistan, as well as the possibility it was mislabeled in the image which was taken at Chitral Gol National Park.

Back to the trees in the images if we may....
 

Rodrigo

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Yes! Definitely need to thicken them up. I was hoping I would attain that by keeping them in nursery pots and limiting their growth by pinching new foliage/pruning back in hopes of sending the energy to the trunks for at least a few years.
Unfortunately it's actually the opossite.. You need to let the top of of the tree grow in order to thicken the trunk. By letting it grow, you get more leaves ("solar panels"), which equals more water and energy traveling up and down the tree to reach those leaves = tree needs to thicken to accommodate for the extra movement of resources. That's why sacrifice branches are left to grow unrestricted and then cut back when it's the right thickness
 

Jzack605

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Ah gotcha. So would best bet be to grow them out a bit I assume. Can I keep moving with general styling or will that hinder girth in the trunks?
 

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