Five Year Native Tree Challenge: Gabler's American Beach #2

Gabler

Shohin
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With the deadline for registration fast approaching, I'm gonna go ahead and enter two more trees: This Fagus grandifolia and one other in another thread. I just really like American beech, and I'd like to try with multiple trees to see if I can get a really good one. That brings me to twelve trees. Given that I reduced my bonsai bench to two trees when I left home for school, and now I'm trying to build my collection back up, I think twelve is managable.

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Gabler

Shohin
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I'm not in the mood to dig up another tree connected to a huge rhizome-like root, so I'm gonna make a substitution. I have great beech access, so I'll find another one that looks more like a tree grown independently from seed, rather than a sucker from a nearby forest giant.
 

RJG2

Mame
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With the deadline for registration fast approaching...

Did I miss something? From the main contest thread:

When?: You can start at any time, but your final submissions are due no later than December 31st, 2025.

I have some I'd like to collect and enter this spring, but wasn't going to bother unless I actually got the chance...

Paging Dr. @zanduh
 

Gabler

Shohin
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I got it mixed up. I don't think there's actually a cutoff to join the contest, just to submit a final entry.
 

RJG2

Mame
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I got it mixed up. I don't think there's actually a cutoff to join the contest, just to submit a final entry.

Cool, I don't have time to strap the snowshoes on to take pictures this week ;)
 

Gabler

Shohin
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I picked a tree to use as a substitute. In hindsight, it was actually harder to collect than the beech tree with one huge root in my other contest thread, but on the bright side, it has a fair number of feeder roots close to the trunk, so I was able to get a relatively small root ball. By the time I managed to collect the tree, it was getting dark, so I couldn't get root ball pictures. For now, it's in a bucket of water to keep the roots from drying out overnight. I'll pot it up first thing tomorrow morning, so I'll get some pictures at that time of the bare-rooted tree.

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Forrestford

Shohin
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Is it another beech? I hope you brought more tools than just that knife!
 

Gabler

Shohin
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Is it another beech? I hope you brought more tools than just that knife!

It is a beech. For my previous beech collection, I used a chainsaw. For this one, the shovel and digging knife were sufficient. The digging knife has a bit of heft to it like a machete, so I can use it like a hatchet on thicker roots. That said, it took about two hours altogether to extract the tree. The fact that it was growing on a wet, muddy escarpment didn't help. I kept slipping in the mud and nearly sliding off the edge into the swamp about six or eight feet below. It was warm yesterday, but not warm enough for a mud bath.
 

Gabler

Shohin
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Here's the tree in a pot. I used a mix of expanded clay, long-fiber sphagnum moss, and pumice for the substrate.

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Notice the little root growing where there's a gap in the nebari. Hopefully it effectively fills the gap.

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Gabler

Shohin
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I then chopped off everything I didn't need, including the smaller fork in the trunk, wired a branch upright as a new leader, and sealed all the wounds. The cuts were too big for a pair of knob cutters to hollow them out, so I used a gouge and mallet.

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I used some finer-grade akadama and some chunks of moss as a top dressing (and to help prevent the substrate from drying as quickly).

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