Hi everyone,

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]Im kind of new to this forum,and have always just read posts but now I have a Q.
Ive bought a liquid amber tree (Its winter here, but this will be its third year of growth) about 32cm high,and o.5cm in diameter at the base. I bought it for a specific trunk shape I have in mind (pic attached- hopefully). I had a choice of 'bout 30 specimens and chose the one with the most twigs - but alas none had surface roots- so what can I do to help this along?

oak1st.jpg
 

jk_lewis

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That tree looks like it has a very nice base.

You can promote roots with an air layer but that would totally mess up that base you have and I could not recommend it. Planting it in a very wide but no deeper pot, and combing out the roots you do have to spread out along the bottom will eventually result in fatter roots that you can arrange on the surface.

But I do wonder why you'd want to.

I do like the tree, but it is in dire need of wiring -- especially that branch thet comes out behind the inside of that deep curve. It intersects (or appears to intersect) with the apex of the tree and needs to be brought WAY down.

The branches all need to be cut back by about 1/3, too.

Which Liquidambar is this -- American or Asiatic sweetgum?

And where are you in the southern hemisphere? (You might want to amend your profile to give us an idea so we can more easily help.)
 

mat

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Is the tree pictured your tree, or the example of how you'd like your tree to turn out?
 

Redwood Ryan

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This is not the tree he bought. The tree he bought has a trunk diameter of .5 cm. This is an idea of where he wants to go.
 

GerhardG

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Hi

You (I think) have bought a Liquidambar, most likely orientalis or styraciflua.

First step would be to make sure which and start searching the forum using the Latin name.

They are not easy to turn into good bonsai, I've tried both and given up as it seems they don't like living in a pot in my climate (Namibia).

At that size you'd do best planting it in the ground for a few years, plant it on a tile (or some similar technique) to get a flat root spread.
The growth pattern of these trees means small bonsai is out, you need a big trunk.

BTW, I tried them as a Maple replacement, and the new growth and autum colours make me sad I couldn't get them to work.

Cheers
Gerhard
 
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Thats only an example, the trunk form and base is what id like to achieve.
Im a fan of bigger trees as they deliver faster results, so the size im aiming for is about 40-45cm at its highest point of the trunk, seen on the pic as the last tip of the hollowed out taper(the hollow trunk is an amazing feature). The tree ive got is nice and bendy so getting that smooth taper shouldn't be a prob.

P.S. Im from South Africa, it gets kinda cold where i am ,winter temp's are between -3/4C to bout 11C , summer is better with temp's of 21C to bout 36/38 degrees celsius.
 

jk_lewis

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Ok . . . you have a LOT of work ahead of you. Again, do you know which Liquidambar you have? They are quite different.

I am familiar with the American tree, L. styraciflua. If yours is the American species, it will take at least 10 years planted in the ground with intensive management to get a trunk with the taper shown by the one in your picture. It is very difficult to get taper in these trees -- an 80-foot tree in the ground growing in a fairly open area may only have a 2-foot diameter base.

If your small tree were to be planted in the ground, I'd suggest a trunk chop in early spring, wiring up a handy branch to be a new leader, then another chop in midsummer. Do that every year. It is a good think it gets cold, because they MUST have a dormant period in the winter.
 

GerhardG

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Hi

I figured out from your name you have to be a Saffer......I'm in Namibia.

I can guarantee you the tree won't like your summer temps, or at least the sun that goes along with the heat.
Locally they handle the heat better when planted in the ground, I struggled with the (leaf burn etc) here in Windhoek, I finally gave up during the time I spent in Southern Nam where it's much hotter.

Cheers
 
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So my winter temps will be fine for it with a little protection, with dappled sun/light shade in the summer? I'll plant it in a crate and keep it there until I've got the trunk girth.
And I dont know what type of liquid amber it is, thats the only thing that was on the plaque in front of the group-It was a small out-of-the-way nursery (they're usually great for finding bonsai stock)
Are they sensitive ? Do they respond well to root hormone?

Thanx for all the advice, the willingness of everybody is fantastic!
 

GerhardG

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Hi Mr Viljoen :)

Google is your best friend, use the correct Latin names and search the normal gardening websites, you should be able to identify your tree very quickly based on leaf shape.
I would put money on it that you have either the Oriental or American gumtree.

The gardening websites can also give you a relatively good idea on temperature ranges a species can tollerate.
You'll find that while bonsai sites are full up on info for the commonly used species you'll need to look elsewhere for advice on less common species.

I would say look at growing the tree under shade net (won't guess % though)
 
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Thanx, I'll post a pic or two when I go home, I live away from home as it is closer to the university I'm attending, but I still get home every two weeks or so. As for leaves, I would have done that immed. had it only had some! Curse this winter dormancy- :-D hahaha
 

Cypress187

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Did you know you have a family crest?

:)
 

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