Design Ideas for Parrot Beak

swatchpost

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Hi All—

Would love to hear some design ideas for my parrot beak. It has nice small leaves now and the trunk has thickened nicely since I got it in 2013. I feel like it’s time to start work on the branches.
Thanks for looking! I’ll post some more photos in a bit!
 

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penumbra

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I love these plants. They are so oak like for an indoor tropical. That is the general direction I would go. I would see how much flex I could get out of the branches (not much I think) and try to get them down a bit before I got too carried away.
As a bonus, it is one of the easiest plants to root from cuttings.
 

swatchpost

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Thanks for your reply! I've never tried taking a cutting from it before; I'll have to try that!

Yeah, I generally always thought because of its rounded shape that it could be one of those super old oakey type trees hanging low and alone on a hill — that kind of idea. I agree, bringing down the branches is a must.
 

Forsoothe!

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I think a tidying-up could do wonders to make it a lot more compact. Applying the general Rules of Bonsai, especially reducing the top of the canopy back to one pair of leaves now, (knowing that growth is apical dominate and the top will grow more than elsewhere, up, regardless of what else happens). The lower section needs more leaves than the top and whenever the the balance shifts, the static growth on the lower levels will be exaggerated by not replacing leaves that are lost while the top canopy grows like crazy. Along with a general re-shaping to a more rounded profile and making the new canopy a helmet with the lower skirt the widest point and then tumblehome increasing as it rises to a nice round top. Only tipping all the tips on the lower branches (after shortening to the finish design length) so as to keep as many twigs and leaves down there and to ramify, too. The number of leaves on each succeeding level of branches is not optional, if you want to keep lower branches fully foliated. My vision for the tree may differ from others...
PB24.JPG
Naturally, repositioning some minor branches with guy wires to accentuate adjacent major branches instead of foiling the view, and removing those that don't play nice with others can make some open space for the birdies to fly through and create the irregularity that mimics real trees in nature so as to avoid looking like a plastic imitation with a too-perfect canopy.
 

BobbyLane

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Thanks for your reply! I've never tried taking a cutting from it before; I'll have to try that!

Yeah, I generally always thought because of its rounded shape that it could be one of those super old oakey type trees hanging low and alone on a hill — that kind of idea. I agree, bringing down the branches is a must.
do you have a picture?

i personally think that if you wired everything downwards you would spoil the tree.
 

BobbyLane

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20180517_141509 by Bobby Lane, on Flickr

so you think this wild oak would be more desirable if ALL the branches were pointing downwards?
e65c4bc2-aa65-4d9f-9928-f74dd5f344eb-jpeg.375987


you could follow the pattern of the oak and have a nice looking tree there. just my 2 cents
 

swatchpost

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so you think this wild oak would be more desirable if ALL the branches were pointing downwards?

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I meant just the lower branches that show their weight when they're old. But your example tree is magnificent! That's a great go-by!
 

swatchpost

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I think a tidying-up could do wonders to make it a lot more compact. Applying the general Rules of Bonsai, especially reducing the top of the canopy back to one pair of leaves now, (knowing that growth is apical dominate and the top will grow more than elsewhere, up, regardless of what else happens). The lower section needs more leaves than the top and whenever the the balance shifts, the static growth on the lower levels will be exaggerated by not replacing leaves that are lost while the top canopy grows like crazy. Along with a general re-shaping to a more rounded profile and making the new canopy a helmet with the lower skirt the widest point and then tumblehome increasing as it rises to a nice round top. Only tipping all the tips on the lower branches (after shortening to the finish design length) so as to keep as many twigs and leaves down there and to ramify, too. The number of leaves on each succeeding level of branches is not optional, if you want to keep lower branches fully foliated. My vision for the tree may differ from others...

Thanks Forsoothe for such a detailed analysis—great stuff here! Lots to think about. I do think it could be a really cool tree.
 

sorce

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As a note, I am largely against both thinner lower branches and the large spaces present that gives easy sight to their difference.

I would use the top section, after that knot is cleaned up, to bring to life your "oak tree", as it has much better characteristics for a good 3d oak style tree.

Layer it off when it's ready...

And deal with the conundrum that is what is left below.

I think it's hard to divide the visions in our head once we become so fond of what we have been looking at for 8 years.
Once you do, you'll get a killer oak from the top section and something different, with a pretty dope base from the bottom.

Sorce
 

swatchpost

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As a note, I am largely against both thinner lower branches and the large spaces present that gives easy sight to their difference.

I would use the top section, after that knot is cleaned up, to bring to life your "oak tree", as it has much better characteristics for a good 3d oak style tree.

Layer it off when it's ready...

And deal with the conundrum that is what is left below.

I think it's hard to divide the visions in our head once we become so fond of what we have been looking at for 8 years.
Once you do, you'll get a killer oak from the top section and something different, with a pretty dope base from the bottom.

Sorce

Love that idea, actually! Only thing about this tree is that my wife gave it to me as a wedding present when we got married. I can hear her now, "You're gonna do WHAT?"
Ha! I love it.

Truthfully, I never liked the straight trunk at the bottom; even thought about ground-layering it once so it would grow some cooler nebari. It definitely does look better with a thicker trunk than it did when I first got it, for sure, but that's a pretty cool idea. Thanks Sorce.
 

Mycin

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I think a tidying-up could do wonders to make it a lot more compact. Applying the general Rules of Bonsai, especially reducing the top of the canopy back to one pair of leaves now, (knowing that growth is apical dominate and the top will grow more than elsewhere, up, regardless of what else happens). The lower section needs more leaves than the top and whenever the the balance shifts, the static growth on the lower levels will be exaggerated by not replacing leaves that are lost while the top canopy grows like crazy. Along with a general re-shaping to a more rounded profile and making the new canopy a helmet with the lower skirt the widest point and then tumblehome increasing as it rises to a nice round top. Only tipping all the tips on the lower branches (after shortening to the finish design length) so as to keep as many twigs and leaves down there and to ramify, too. The number of leaves on each succeeding level of branches is not optional, if you want to keep lower branches fully foliated. My vision for the tree may differ from others...
View attachment 376008
Naturally, repositioning some minor branches with guy wires to accentuate adjacent major branches instead of foiling the view, and removing those that don't play nice with others can make some open space for the birdies to fly through and create the irregularity that mimics real trees in nature so as to avoid looking like a plastic imitation with a too-perfect canopy.

I think this is right on. The basic structure is there and the trunk is interesting enough to showcase. Denser foliage and you'll have a very very nice tree. It's very nice already, I love the trunk and nebari -- very natural and ancient looking. Excited for updates!
 

Bnana

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If you trim the top to make it more dense but do not prune the lower branches too much they will thicken with time.
Don't be shy with the fertilizer, you want it to grow, that is the only way it will thicken. It stays small because you prune not because it has a a hard time.
 

swatchpost

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Thanks, everyone for the thoughtful comments and ideas! Totally agree with trimming the top to promote more dense growth and just let the lower branches go so they thicken. (In the photos you can see a nice shoot on the lower branch that I can use as a sacrifice for it to thicken.)

Unfortunately, I lost a pretty major branch a couple of years ago on the first branch and there is no indication of any back-budding. You can see it clearly in the photos.
 

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swatchpost

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Additionally, I read something on another thread that I'm curious if you all think this applies to this tree. So we're all talking about the lower branches needing to catch up to the apex as far as thickening, filling out, and ramification. So...here's a screenshot from a JBP thread where a forum member named Adair M gave a suggestion for roughly the same problem.

He says:
"You're asking how to "balance the tree"! So... here's the deal: you can't make one section of the tree stronger than the others. But you can weaken all the other parts of the tree to match the weakest part! Looking at the tree, there appears to be more ramification on the top....So, some thinning is called for. Again, while we like lots of little branches, we want balance. And if one side is farther along than the other, there is no way to make the side that's behind ramify faster. We have to slow down the side that's ahead. That's done by cutting back. And thinning."

What do you all think about that? Do you all think that also applies to my situation?
 

Forsoothe!

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Ya know, that's part of the process of shedding lower existing leaves/branches as new growth at the top dominates. I'm not guaranteeing a new replacement branch, but you may get lucky as part of the trim-top-bottom-grows process some buds may show up down there as the top is trimmed and more light is available down there. Point the side where you want the new growth at the sun, and cross your fingers.
 

swatchpost

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Hi All—wanted to give you fine folks an update. I've let the tree grow freely since my last post, only taking off any new growth on the apex and letting long shoots extend on the bottom branches to facilitate thickening. I even got lucky and got a back bud on the main first branch where I really need a new branch to grow to fill out that first branch. See pics.

Question for you all: I realize I'm trying to do two things at once: thicken the lower branches by letting the long shoots grow freely and help that little new shoot that back budded. Do you think I should remove some (but not all) of the super long shoots so the branch has the energy to put into developing that new little branch? Or just keep going like it is?

Thanks as always for your feedback!
 

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Forsoothe!

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It's on the lowest branch? Let it grow, and keep the upper section chased back.
 

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