Growing for cascade style


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Mooresville, NC - USA
Hello, i have a weeping blue atlas cedar i have had in the ground for about 2 years now. I got it before i started bonsai, but think it would be a cool tree to eventually have into a cascade style. Its about three feet long now, but only about 3/4" at the base. I know it will have to be shortened at some point, but am thinking it is the same as most conifers, you would just choose a new leader and take off the end? I definately want it to grow out, and i know growing in the ground would be the fastest way, but not sure if it would get too stiff to bend down after 3 or 4 years. Or am i thinking all wrong. Should it be elevated somehow now? Anyone have any good links or resources for growing these. Awesome trees.
Tilting the container is a good practice, but why would you wait to shape the branch for several years, this is the situation where we use wire, bend it and grow it at the same time.
Id like to grow this one in the ground to get the trunk, and base larger, but im wondering if its possible unless i elevated the ground where it is planted.
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Raised beds would work, or a hillside if available, the escape method with a grow box or nursery can would do the trick as well. Root maker bags are gaining in popularity as well, I've heard good things about them, but no real experiance.
What about building a box with no bottom or top, then dig down past the bottom of the box and putting a tile in the bottom of the hole. Or would that be the same as just growing in a container? Maybe the preferred method is to grow in a container? If so, what size should it be, or should it get continually larger every few years?
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The escape method will keep some of the smaller feeder roots contained and relatively small. Just boxing it loosely around the perimeter would allow all the roots to grow as they wish, basically no different than just planting it, the tile would help keep them shallower, but when ready to collect it will need to have new small feeders grown. I think You could do either really, but the question is what do you have for a root system now, does it need to be recreated anyway, if so plant it, but do it so you can create the cascade aspet as well. Sorry this isn't a direct answer for you, that I think you need to determine by figuring out where the tree is, and what it needs to fit your desired design.
Thanks alot Bill. What i did was put it in a large container with lots of holes in the bottom, and a good bonsai soil. I tied it in with 3 different wires. Its naturally leaning this way, so i thought it would be right to let it get used to this new spot before doing any other work? Think that is right? Here are a few pics. Thanks for any more suggestions.


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Hi Digger, the first two buds on the trunk are the ones that you should concentrate on. Use the rest for sacrifice. The bud on the left train for the cascade and the one on the right for the crown. It's always easier to get comments when you start a thread with photos so everyone is on a similar page.
Hows it going Wood. Yeah, i first was just asking for general advice for starting a cascade, but then figured i needed pics when i started aiming it more toward my goal for the tree. Im still learning how to explain my questions, so thanks for the help. So your saying the first two right across from each other? Should i remove any parts of the sacrifice to help grow these buds? Let me know if ya need any more pics. Thanks again, Digger
Digger, just feed it aggressively until they all start moving well. Maybe in the fall, thin buds a few inches above the ones you want to keep. don't be in a hurry and keep as much growth as possible on the sacrifice to make a strong tree for the next step, the chop, in a few years.
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