Good and Ugly. Celtis Sinensis. Hackberry

Tieball

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The Celtis Sinensis, Hackberry, basically called it quits after a 2018/2019 winter of -35 Fahrenheit wind chills. The top died. Branches dried and died. Then in 2019/2020 winter it simple sat in the ground for another several months of grueling cold temperatures. In mid April 2020, I dug it out of the ground. I had a fairly warm day. Drastically root pruned it....removing about 90% of the roots.....the roots were really healthy. Surprised me given what I could see above ground where it wasn’t looking like much. What’s left for roots occupies less than a seven inch circular shape with a 1-1/2” (3.8cm) depth below the trunk base. The Nebari is thickly well formed all around and currently buried. The trunk at the soil level is 3.5” (8.8cm) diameter. The height from the soil level is 18” (45.7cm) To the top of the thin branch.

I boxed it up and put it out in the sun. A survivor....I have new buds forming around the tree in good locations. I counted about 25 buds. The remaining branches all have buds forming, except for that lower left thick dead limb. I believe it’s going to make it through and grow. A slow start...but definitely a start. No carving or other fun yet...totally nature’s work right now. Looks a bit raw, wild and untamed....but in person it’s actually rather nice. It’s got guts.
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TN_Jim

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Keep fightin'! Dig this tree, gots character -that dead wood/cambium die back, shazzam.
Hackberry are great. I been paying close attention to their branching in the wild as something to model, had never noticed how prone they are to unusual contorted shapes....very common to have dead wood akin to yours on large ones in my area.
 

Tieball

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I am working toward......an old tree. It will be interesting to see how it begins to develop all new branching this season. The buds, right now anyway, seem to favor the left side and back of the photo. Which is good for what I’m thinking. I want to keep the deadwood in view. This is a let-it-grow season after removing almost all of the roots.
 

Tieball

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Keep fightin'! Dig this tree, gots character -that dead wood/cambium die back, shazzam.
Hackberry are great. I been paying close attention to their branching in the wild as something to model, had never noticed how prone they are to unusual contorted shapes....very common to have dead wood akin to yours on large ones in my area.
If you happen to spot some interesting deadwood areas....and have a camera handy....take some photos...I can always use some inspiration. One of the trees I dug up has almost the entire front bark gone....curtesy of a rodent with a winter appetite.....and arctic cold temperatures. This tree is really trying to hang in there to grow this season.
 

TN_Jim

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If you happen to spot some interesting deadwood areas....and have a camera handy....take some photos...I can always use some inspiration. One of the trees I dug up has almost the entire front bark gone....curtesy of a rodent with a winter appetite.....and arctic cold temperatures. This tree is really trying to hang in there to grow this season.
On it. Likely phone pics, but like the motive/idea.
Stay warm up there, we’re 36 tomorrow night, crazy. One of the greatest people ever born lives in Ann Arbor 6a, has been doing so much plant work, if were 36 here....... I know I’ll be shuffling
 

defra

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Nice one!
I like this species allot as well, got one myself top with deadwood :)
we live in different climate's but mines already leafed out for some time, it wakes up earlyer if kept frost free trough winter..
last time mine experienced frost it was july it started to show buds :p
good luck with this fun project!
 

Tieball

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Nice one!
I like this species allot as well, got one myself top with deadwood :)
we live in different climate's but mines already leafed out for some time, it wakes up earlyer if kept frost free trough winter..
last time mine experienced frost it was july it started to show buds :p
good luck with this fun project!
A good naturally created deadwood area always seems to draw me in to see it closer. I like to imagine what climate circumstance was that caused the deadwood. I like to visualize what might have happened at some point in the history if the tree. I think I have a deadwood addiction.
 

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On it. Likely phone pics, but like the motive/idea.
Stay warm up there, we’re 36 tomorrow night, crazy. One of the greatest people ever born lives in Ann Arbor 6a, has been doing so much plant work, if were 36 here....... I know I’ll be shuffling
We have a brief return back to winter this weekend....so they forecast anyway. Snow, sleet and rain they say. But, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think we’ll just stay very cold.....climbing up to a low end 40 something daytime and then fall back down to the mid 20s over night for the next four days. I can easily get snow accumulation all the way to the end of the month of May. So a wintry forecast is not that unusual.

Yesterday was Tree Frog day. Lots of them hanging out and napping in the warm sun. They will hide under my grow boxes for the next few days.D15CEBAC-10B7-4FC6-900E-11BB653E95FA.jpeg
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jason biggs

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Your climate sounds tropical - I suppose they sell tons of suntan lotion there in Michigan??
Your tree looks like a survivor 👍. Celtis can be so finicky - drop their leaves for nothing and yet
as in your case have the resilience of a heavyweight champ...
 

Tieball

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Your climate sounds tropical - I suppose they sell tons of suntan lotion there in Michigan??
Your tree looks like a survivor 👍. Celtis can be so finicky - drop their leaves for nothing and yet
as in your case have the resilience of a heavyweight champ...
It’s interesting each Spring. It’s seems the trees with the most complications just keep getting more attractive.
 

JudyB

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love those frogs. The picture of frog with buds is great! Hope this one gives you lots of options.
 

Tieball

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love those frogs. The picture of frog with buds is great! Hope this one gives you lots of options.
I think the frog thought it looked enough like a green bud that I wouldn’t notice it sleeping there.
 

Tieball

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One tough CA transplant- how about the others you got?
The tree above was one of six survivors from the initial twelve. This was the runt of the pack....it struggled for several years. Celtis Sinensis, I learned over the years, does not like -20 to -35 degree winds for a sustained time. The remains are about 12” to 15” in height with a 3.5” to 5.5” trunk at the base. Generally all of them will require carving and will be trees of character. I am still on board to have fun with the trees....just in a different direction than originally planned.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I like it, hope it continues to thrive. As they develop character, enough to make them worth keeping, you will need to protect them in winter.

Question? Why not go for the native or near native Celtis species. I have Celtis occidentalis on our farm west of Kalamazoo. C. occidentalis is probably even better for bonsai than C. sinensis, at least according to Brent Walston, it can develop very fine twig ramification, more fine than C. sinensis.

Celtis laevigata the southern hackberry or sugar berry hackberry has its range up to middle of Indiana and Ohio, should survive quite nicely through zone 6a. The Celtis laevigata has the roughest, or most corky bark of the bunch. Also has slightly larger fruit than the others. Sweet, or more sweet by comparison, but still too dry, with too little pulp to really be considered anything other than starvation food.

I do sympathize, I have many trees, not because I actively sought them out, they just "fell into my lap". Nothing wrong with C. sinensis, except it is not as hardy as C. occidentalis.
 

Tieball

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I like it, hope it continues to thrive. As they develop character, enough to make them worth keeping, you will need to protect them in winter.

Question? Why not go for the native or near native Celtis species. I have Celtis occidentalis on our farm west of Kalamazoo. C. occidentalis is probably even better for bonsai than C. sinensis, at least according to Brent Walston, it can develop very fine twig ramification, more fine than C. sinensis.

Celtis laevigata the southern hackberry or sugar berry hackberry has its range up to middle of Indiana and Ohio, should survive quite nicely through zone 6a. The Celtis laevigata has the roughest, or most corky bark of the bunch. Also has slightly larger fruit than the others. Sweet, or more sweet by comparison, but still too dry, with too little pulp to really be considered anything other than starvation food.

I do sympathize, I have many trees, not because I actively sought them out, they just "fell into my lap". Nothing wrong with C. sinensis, except it is not as hardy as C. occidentalis.
I never liked the “warts” or whatever they are called. Always seemed uncomfortably out-of-bonsai-scale to my eyes. I haven’t seen a occidentalis without warts. The interesting thing is that these Celtis Sinensis have been outside fully all year long for more than 12-15 years. That arctic blast we sustained for several weeks two years ago, and I think even one year prior to that, caused damage that the trees could not handle or repair. The trees were ground growing.....I brought them here to grow. Just experiencing a creative setback. Not I have character to work with. Maybe one day I could visit the farm you mention.

Now that the trees are out of the ground and boxed I’ll be planning better winter protection.
 

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