First forest, first post. Help?

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Hey Bnut, longtime lurker, first time posting. I've only been growing bonsai for a short time, maybe 3 or 4 years. Never attended a single meeting, never belonged to a club, never knew another person who seriously practiced bonsai. My venture thus far has been autodidactic, so cut me some slack!

About a month ago I assembled my first (attempted) forest, a near view with 5 elms that I'd grown from seed, hence the variation in leaf size. All 5 have leafed out now, with 3 of the trees having already hardened off their initial flush.

I'm afraid if I don't stay on top of them the reverse taper will soon begin, and you guys know how vigorous parvifolia is. I'm also only quasi-embarrassed about this composition, so I'd like it to see it grow to become a decent forest someday.

I'm fine to go ahead and begin at least keeping things in check on the more vigorous trees, right? Especially the apical whorls, that's what I'm really concerned about causing problems. Not going to work the smallest trees yet, they haven't leafed out enough to warrant it.

Pardon the angle and background, they aren't anything close to acceptable because I just snapped a pic in haste for this post (and bc it's only a month-old planting in a cheap stock pot, come on!)20200401_190607.jpg
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Shibui

Omono
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I can't see too much to be embarrassed about for a beginner. Trees vary in thickness, height and in separation. Good so far.
they do look way too tall for the trunk diameter but that's easy fixed. Bonsai growers need to be able to prune. Chinese elm don't mind being cut back. Pick spot on each trunk and cut. I'd guess about half way for each tree would be good.

Pruning is also the answer to crowded shoots that may cause reverse taper. Where there are lots of shoots just get in there and cut some out. As a now deceased Japanese master once told me: If you have ploblem cut him off - no more ploblem!

Also take a look at the internal shoots. Trees in a forest rarely have branches growing in the shade of the group. Remove most of the shoots that are growing in toward the centre.

Is the trunk wire just for decoration or is it actually straightening those trunks? Te trunk on the far right seems to lean in toward the larger trees. That's something that would rarely happen in nature. Smaller, younger trees almost always lean away from the older trees seeking light. Use that wire to realign that trunk. That's why we put wire on bonsai - to bend them into better alignment.
 

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