Hawthorn (aka U.S.Y.)

Jason

Shohin
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I call this tree my urban swamp yamadori. This tree bites (maybe in more ways than one). The thorns on it are a good 1/2-3/4 of an inch and it has made me bleed on several occasions. I dug it up from some semi urban wasteland close to 3 years ago. Trying to figure out who actually owned the urban wasteland in order to get permission was a real "treat". It seems the land repetitively gets purchase and then returned to the bank. I picked it because it had some taper, it had nice bark, some trunk movement, was with fruit, and it was accessible. If I grew this out from nursery material I would be dead before it was ready (and I'm not that old). I managed to scare a few joggers emerging from the swamp with this thing in one hand and a shovel and saw in the other. I'm sure I looked like a lunatic (hmmm...:confused:)

This is the tree a few months after collection. The picture sucks but it's all I have. In the background is a really nice chinese quince with great trunk movement that I managed to kill by not adequately protecting it in the winter (I think). On the right is a Hemlock from WA...that I'm going to repot this year. Up on the top is a maple with hideous claw-like nebari that I'm trying to rectify.
 

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Jason

Shohin
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This is the tree today. The tree is about 3.5-4 inches at the base and about 30 inches tall. So it's pushing a 1:8 ratio. I really like the trunk movement. Do you all think I have to hack it back more? I've also been debating the merits of the second trunk. I know once I cut it all the way off there is no going back. It seems keeping a little low growth might help thicken the base and mimick the way these things grow in the wild. If I keep it I will make it even smaller that what it is now so it will barely play a support role. I'm just working on thickening it and getting some movement in it this year. Thoughts? When your looking at the branch structure keep in mind I sometimes like to give myself a couple of alternatives in the same place. I'll thin and choose later when there are more options. The trunk is back budding all over as we speak.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
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Nice trunk, I can just imagine the look on the joggers' faces coming out of the woods with a shovel!

If you don't cut it back, it's going to be an obnoxiously tall tree, and you will probably battle with making it look natural unless it's about 4' tall, or a literati. If you cut it back to the yellow line, you still have branches that can replace the apex and still be as tall. Ultimately, I suspect you'll kick yourself in 10 years or so if you don't go back to the red line now.

After a few years of bonsai training, the thorns should stop developing. I collected this one in '99 and reduced it to a stump...one of my favorites.
 

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amkhalid

Chumono
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I think it definitely needs to be cut back as there is practically no taper in the top half of the tree.

I think I would cut back to the yellow line with the intention of wiring out a new leader. That is assuming the species grows at a reasonable speed and buds back reliably (I've never worked with hawthorn).

I like the trunk movement too, and I think this tree wants to be elegant, slender and upright. Brian's red line chop is definitely another option, but it will take the tree in another direction, I think.
 

donkey

Mame
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I think it definitely needs to be cut back as there is practically no taper in the top half of the tree.

I think I would cut back to the yellow line with the intention of wiring out a new leader. That is assuming the species grows at a reasonable speed and buds back reliably (I've never worked with hawthorn).

I like the trunk movement too, and I think this tree wants to be elegant, slender and upright. Brian's red line chop is definitely another option, but it will take the tree in another direction, I think.[/QUOTE

having worked with hawthorn as a hedging species it is a fast grower and back buds like hellfire this is why in britain it is on of the most popular boundary hedging plants. that and its extreme thorny nature (get orf moi land)
 

bonsai barry

Omono
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I don't know, the consensus is to cut it back, but that is going to just leave the straightest part of the trunk. I'd try developing as is, and cutting back if not satisfied.

Regarding, the secondary trunk, I'd keep it in order to deflect attention from the straight part of the main trunk.

Of course, you could cut the main trunk and develop the secondary trunk, you would certainly remain safely within the 1:8 ratio.
 
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