Hinoki Cypress, 7-8 years in training

october

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Hello all..........

This is a Hinoki cypress that I have been training for about 7-8 years. It was one of my first styling attemps. I consider myself lucky that it is turning out pretty well because 7-8 years ago, I had very little bonsai experience. Also, these trees are very unforgiving. Anybody who has worked with these trees knows that they will not bud back on old wood and die back can ruin the whole design.

When I first purchased this tree from a local garden center (paid maybe $32) it was essentially just a bush. I noticed, even back then, a beautiful slight curve to the lower trunk. I took it home and used my practically non existent, at the time, knowledge of styling and clipped away a few branches...lol really didn't know about wiring at that point either. Anyway, I left quite a bit of foliage on it because of my lack of knowledge. Which actually worked out well considering, what I didn't know back then about it not back budding.

There are good and bad points about this tree.. Some good points are, it is very well ramified. Another point is the natural nice curve of the trunk. It has very subtle movement and nice taper. Another point is there is foliage in all the right places and die back has not been a major problem.

Some bad points are, the common with this species, lack of taper at the base. Unfortuantely, this is the absolute most shallow pot the tree will ever be able to go it. Right before the soil surface of what you see is the base or root stump. It is not a tap root, but rather an almost star shaped stump where all the roots radiate in a 360 degree manner. To cut this stump would be like cutting the entire bottom of the tree off. Air layering has been discussed. However, due to them not back budding and die back, I dismissed the idea. I did not want to take a chance. I have lowered the tree a bit deeper with each repotting and are now at the bare minimum. Another bad, well, not too bad...is the silhouette. It is a bit wide compared to the trunk size. However, given the structure of the tree, and its growing habits, the branches cannot really be shortened. Also, the distance between main branch one 1 and 2 could be farther.

All in all, I am pretty happy with the overall look. Also, the fact that it has flourished in my care even through my first bonsai years makes the tree very special to me.

Rob

All comments welcome.

Here is the 7-8 year progression

Pic 1: This was right after the tree was root pruned and taken from a 3 gallon container and put into a roughly 1 gallon grow pot. Only a few branches were removed to expose the trunk.

Pic 2: About 3 years later, the tree was put into its first over sized bonsai pot.

Pic 3: A couple years later, the tree was trimmed up and the whole tree wired, except for the trunk.

Pic 4: The tree grew very well and was beginning to have a nice shape over that year.

Pic 5: How the tree looks this season after about 16 hours (collectively) of wiring. Still more to go. I will be refining the apex a bit more in the future.
 

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Rick Moquin

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Coming along nicely a little thining of the pads would help with the fullness of the silhouette.

wrt the base do be cautious as I lost one almost identical to yours... go to my blog under updates for its story.

I also have an article on Taming Hinokis under the article section that may be of help to you.
 

october

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Hello Rick Moquin,

Thanks for replying. Actually, the pads are very thin. The pics make them look fuller than what they are. I have spent just as much time training the foliage as the branches. As you know, the foliage tends to whorl and grow vertical. I have used wire and kind of gently twisted tufts of folage and also used pruning to help keep the folaige horizontal over the years..

I will defintely check out your article....Thanks again...

Rob
 

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