How do I start a Flat Top Bald Cypress?

CapeFear盆景

Sapling
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Location
Cape Fear
USDA Zone
7b
I bought this bald cypress (taxodium distichum from a friend last fall. Was grown for 5 years from seed in the same 10 gallon container. I waited till February to repot the chopped the trunk in March. Mid April the tree exploded. I rubbed off all the lower buds and kept the top ones.

I want to style the tree like the local trees in my area. Most are tall skinny with flat tops and maybe one or two lower smaller branches.

My consern is I will get inverse taper at the trop of the tree If I leave too many branches. Also I’m not sure how long to let the top branches grow until I cut them back.

Any information would be helpful.
 

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In this famous example it looks like the tree initially splits into 2 trunks, maybe start there... I've got a couple I've been playing with for 2 or 3 years and one growing in the ground for my "real" tree eventually so I'm curious to the proper steps as well.

Maybe some more experienced guys can chime in @johng @BillsBayou

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From pruning a bald cypress that’s flat top, it was collected. But that bald cypress I’ve worked on was trimmed back and left to grow out for the season, then pruned and wired in fall . Most of the fantastic examples of Bald Cypress I’ve seen were all collected. I don’t know how hard it is to collect down there, but it would be a fun trip. This is any example I have on my bonsai inspiration Pinterest. You may want to put it into a Anderson flat to grow or a grow box if you’re going for the flat top, you’ll get exponential growth for Bald Cypress that way, and just keep cuttting it back until you get a tapered apex that allows for branching up the top, while still letting the side branches grow out to grow the trunk.
 

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From pruning a bald cypress that’s flat top, it was collected. But that bald cypress I’ve worked on was trimmed back and left to grow out for the season, then pruned and wired in fall . Most of the fantastic examples of Bald Cypress I’ve seen were all collected. I don’t know how hard it is to collect down there, but it would be a fun trip. This is any example I have on my bonsai inspiration Pinterest. You may want to put it into a Anderson flat to grow or a grow box if you’re going for the flat top, you’ll get exponential growth for Bald Cypress that way, and just keep cuttting it back until you get a tapered apex that allows for branching up the top, while still letting the side branches grow out to grow the trunk.
"Fun" is one word.... granted I'm 54 and have been doing this most of my life... This years target and next years... That water is a balmy 45 degrees or so and about thigh deep. Gonna have to catch that one on a low day.
 

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The "soil line flare" is about 26" across. The whole mud ball was about 200 pounds. Come-along up a 15' levy and back down to my nursery... Not sure where I'm going with this one- will let it go crazy for a year and see what it tells me.
 

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As far as styling a flat top, catch John Geangal (sp) on Youtube. Also look at the photos of Black Bayou Photography and Ben Pierce Photography.

You can pick two branches and wire them out when they lignify and let everything else grow wild.
 
"Fun" is one word.... granted I'm 54 and have been doing this most of my life... This years target and next years... That water is a balmy 45 degrees or so and about thigh deep. Gonna have to catch that one on a low day.
That looks very fun 🤩
I wonder if tackling the tree to knock it over works after you saw roots lol. But on a serious note , very nice collected material, that’s one type of tree on my list.
 
+1 on John Geanangel styling. Here's one I have in development based on what I picked up from his videos - lot's of carving involved in year ~2-3. For skinnier material with more movement the "wandering" Vaughn Banting single leader style may be more appropriate.

Ultimately you're shooting for a tree that had the top twisted off in high winds / hurricane, then one or more new leaders emerging from that interface. Lower branches should be bend down as if they are older than the leader(s) - @Sekibonsai described a nice technique for starting this as the branches start to lignify.

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Thank you all for the feedback and information. For now I guess I’ll let the truck branches grow out a bit to thicken the trunk a bit more and let the selected top branches grow out until fall.
 
So I’ve been neglecting my trees though summer due to unforeseen events and my Bald Cypress has suffered.
Does anyone have any suggestions to what might be happening? The foliage is browning and falling off, it’s too early for this to happen in my area. I think the soil might be compacted, I haven’t pulled it out of the pot to check the roots yet.
Any information would be appreciated!
 

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So I’ve been neglecting my trees though summer due to unforeseen events and my Bald Cypress has suffered.
Does anyone have any suggestions to what might be happening? The foliage is browning and falling off, it’s too early for this to happen in my area. I think the soil might be compacted, I haven’t pulled it out of the pot to check the roots yet.
Any information would be appreciated!
You are in 7b, it may appear early to you but I don't think you are far away from the time when BCs naturally turn bronze and drop leaves.
 
You are in 7b, it may appear early to you but I don't think you are far away from the time when BCs naturally turn bronze and drop leaves.
Thanks for the advice. That’s what I’m hoping is what is happening, the only thing that makes me feel it’s something else is all the BC’s around my house haven’t turned yet. Also last year this tree didn’t turn until mid November. This is my first BC, do they turn earlier when they are bonsai?
 
Thanks for the advice. That’s what I’m hoping is what is happening, the only thing that makes me feel it’s something else is all the BC’s around my house haven’t turned yet. Also last year this tree didn’t turn until mid November. This is my first BC, do they turn earlier when they are bonsai?
Yours is in pot. The soil in the pot gets colder than the soil in the ground. I would mulch your bc well to prepare for the winter.
 
From pruning a bald cypress that’s flat top, it was collected. But that bald cypress I’ve worked on was trimmed back and left to grow out for the season, then pruned and wired in fall . Most of the fantastic examples of Bald Cypress I’ve seen were all collected. I don’t know how hard it is to collect down there, but it would be a fun trip. This is any example I have on my bonsai inspiration Pinterest. You may want to put it into a Anderson flat to grow or a grow box if you’re going for the flat top, you’ll get exponential growth for Bald Cypress that way, and just keep cuttting it back until you get a tapered apex that allows for branching up the top, while still letting the side branches grow out to grow the trunk.
Very nice tree🤗.
 
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