Hinoki Cypress in final pot

october

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Hello all.. I have posted this one over the last few seasons. I have had this tree for 9 years.. This is the first year that it has gone into an appropriate size pot... I felt that the root system could handle it. I also had to bring back all the elongated branches back in proportion to the trunk.

This tree has become very special to me because it was a tree from my early days in bonsai.. It is considered a tough species..However, I probably made every mistake in the book with this tree and the tree has always done well... I will say that it loves lots of water and also a good amount of winter protection.

Comments always welcome.

Rob
 

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Bill S

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Rob you must have worked your fingers keeping this pinched back, the foliage so close to the trunk says you are doing something right, looking good.
 

Dwight

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Damn I wish I could grow those out here in the desert. Thats one of the few trees I like as much as junies
 

october

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Hi Bill..Actually.. I really don't think that I have done much pinching over the last 9 years. Actually, I have other practices that keep the tree looking well. One, is good winter protection and 2 is wiring. It is crafty wiring that allows the tree to look like this. There are some bare spots that are inoccuous, even up close, due to wiring. One example is the main bottom anchoring branch. The whole back side of the branch has no foliage or sub branching. Since I wanted to shorten that branch last season anyway, I swung the last 1/4 of the end of it back around. Almost like a tight horse shoe. In a short time, the folaige grew quite well and filled the whole back of the branch in. Even up close, it looks like there are sub branches.

Another reason for not a lot of pinching was fear that the section/sections would die. The tufts of foliage are so small that I noticed pinching them back too much and they do not grow back

Now I believe is when the real pinching will begin. Now that the tree has it's final form.:D
 

bonsaiTOM

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Thanks for the tips offered here. I'm working with my first Hinoki. I have lots to learn.

Concerning winter protection - what hardiness zone are you in? And how exactly did you actually protect this beauty?
 

Bill S

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What bonsaiTom said, mine looks a bit yellowed after it's nap in the cold frame, but they are all out now, do tell.
 

october

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Hello bonsai Tom I am up in southern MA.. So thats like 6/7 I believe.. For the past 3-4 years. I have left my cold hardy trees in a vacant apartment with no heat or electricity. The temps range from around 30 to 50 F on average.. However, when the temps do approach 50, I crack the window to keep the temps down down. You could probably count the times on one hand that this tree has seen temps below 25 over the last 9 years. Also, it has never been exposed to harsh winter winds.

I would say that wiring has been the most effective tool keeping the foliage looking like it is close to the trunk. A healthy Hinkoi will grow a lot of foliage in one season. So, if there is a space, I would wire a small tuft of foliage in that area. In a season or 2, the area will be filled with new, healthy foliage.

I will say that Hinkoi, well mine anyway, loves a lot of water. Also, it is repotted every 2 years I believe.. Every 2 years it fills the entire pot with fresh new roots... This is the smallest pot it has ever been in. I am still confident that it will do just as well.

Here are a couple of pics of the tree tree last season and a closer pic from this season. The tree got a makeover this season to make it look more natural and not as perfect. Coupled with the new pot, I think it makes for a nice combination. When it settles into it's new pot. I plan to go some work on the upper portion of the tree
 

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rockm

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You've done very well with this tree. The new image looks extremely natural and effortless. I'm sure a lot of effort was involved, though.

The pot, IMO, is good. A darker, shallower pot might work a little better. A rugged piece of slate or other thin stone slab with the tree planted to one side would look stunning with it, I'd think. But, root mass might make that unworkable.
 

october

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Hello and thank you very much rockm.. You are exactly right...Although it looks very natural and serene...getting those branches back into scale with the trunk was not easy. Also, this was preceeding by 8-9 years pf training...I like the idea of the stone slab as well. However, for this pot, which is actually only around 1 1/2 inch deep, we are at the absolute minimum.

I forgot to mention that the height of his tree is about 14 or 15 inches.
 
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woodguy

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Very nice. I like the way you made the branching more natural in the last photo.

Just wondering about your winter storage. I have read that Hinokis can loose inner branches that do not get enough light. Is yours getting any sun light in the empty apartment? I thought that evergreens still needed light during dormancy.
 

october

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Thanks treebeard55

Thanks woodguy..In the winter, my trees get light from 3 big windows. However, none of which, is sun. It is just day light. I have been told that hardy trees, providing it is cold enough, do not need any light.. However, for me, I keep my trees in the mid 30's to upper 40's F range with the natural light from the window.. In essence, it is actually about proportions..

Also, although not enough light penetrating the interior of the tree does cause die back, harsh cold coupled with drying wind is a major contributor to foliage and branch loss. This is the reason that when you see a hinoki in a landscape in a cold area.. There is barely any foliage

From my experience with this tree... Keeping it in an area that is around 34-48 degrees with some natural light and no harsh winds has kept the tree very healthy.
 

woodguy

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Well looking at this tree you are having success. I may look to keeping mine in the garage by the window next winter. After all the heavy snow this past winter I won't be keeping mine in the flower bed with my other hardy trees any more. The ones in my landscape took a beating this year.
 

yamins

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And moreover, from personal experience, I can say that this tree looks even better in person than in the photos.

Would you be willing to talk more about your general pinching / foliage refinement technique on it?
 

Attila Soos

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I like the idea of the stone slab as well. However, for this pot, which is actually only around 1 1/2 inch deep, we are at the absolute minimum.

I forgot to mention that the height of his tree is about 14 or 15 inches.

Yeah, with Hinoki, there is a point where if you start cutting more roots, you are in dangerous territory. I feel the same way, this year I planted one of my Hinoki into its first bonsai pot, and although it seems a bit too deep, I won't push my luck too much.

However, as the tree matures in its bonsai pot, and the rootball becomes more and more compact, with plenty of surface roots, it can be placed in a shallower pot in a few years.

There is one way that minimizes the risk of growing in a very shallow pot: to grow moss on top of the soil. This way, you can use a shallow pot and raise the soil in the middle, without getting it washed away during watering. I do this with all my shallow pots. And Hinoki loves the moist environment that the moss creates, so there is no risk of root rot. Even if the moss dries out occasionally, the layer below the moss stays moist on the hottest of days. Without the protective moss, the fine surface roots will all die during a hot summer, and the nebari won't be as good.
 
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october

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Thanks Yamins.. So, you have seen this hinoki in person. I can only guess that it was at an open workshop:D

Anyway, to be honest about the pinching.. I have not really done a lot of pinching over the years with this tree. Mostly it has been scissor pruning and wiring. I think now is when pinching will really come into play. When I do pinch, it is usually in very small amounts here and there. Meaning, that if you have a tuft of foliage, and you pinch too far back to where it originates. It will never grow back in that area. Here is a rough virt, virt 1, of what I mean. Notice there is plenty of green left in the tuft. Pinching it back further to where the darker green meets the wood stem will result in no growth from that area. Pinch back no further than the red

Virt 2 is the over head view of a problem branch. This is how some crafty wiring can really make all the difference with this species.. If you have a branch with no foliage on one whole side and none on top. You can take the end of the elongated branch and swoop it around. This will create the branch placement you need. Eventually, the foliage will fill in and it will barely be noticeable that there are no branches in that area.

One other important thing... With Hinoki, you will need to train the foliage. The foliage tufts tend to grow vertical. With some fine wiring, you can wire right up to the tuft and maybe run a little wire losely over and/or through it. Then give it a slight and easy twist. You must be careful doing this so the tuft is not damaged. You may have to do this technique on a large portion of the tree. Also, you may have to do it for a few years, until the foliage tufts start to resemble horizontal pads.

I hope some of this is helpful. I really should be thanking the tree. This tree has taught me so much about form and wiring. If it wasn't for it's extremely giving nature (especially for a hinoki) I would not have been able to learn this much about the species. That is providing other hinoki are as forgiving ..lol:D

Rob
 

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Bill S

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Thanks Rob, thats what I thought you meant, good virt.

Attila, hide them if Cathy Shaner is around, she says either make the root mass small or the pot deeper, I guess the slab would take car eof that.:p She actuall shocked us a bit at our recent work shop, as she told, probably our most talented member to ship her the tree (she really liked it) or get rid of the mound, not sure there was an explanation, but I am thinking it's the heat and dry issue that your moss takes care of, which is what you'd do on a slab.:cool:
 

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