Is there any way to create a Burl in a Bonsai tree

Pixar

Shohin
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How do you create a burl in a bonsai tree ?
Thought it would be an interesting topic
 

AcerAddict

Shohin
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I've done woodworking as a hobby for many years, and I can't think of a better description for burlwood than what Wikipedia has...
A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus or fungus. Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy that is generally not discovered until the tree dies or falls over. Such burls sometimes appear as groups of bulbous protrusions connected by a system of rope-like roots. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect infestation and certain types of mold infestation are the most common causes of this condition.
So to answer your question, a bonsai tree would essentially have to undergo some sort of stress (injury or infection) for a burl to start forming. Excessive stress is not something we typically want bonsai trees to experience, ever.

I haven't practiced bonsai long enough to tell you if burls even regularly form on bonsai trees or not. My uneducated guess would be that they don't.
 

moke

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Here's an interesting thread from another forum, this guy shot the trees with a gun and 9 out of 10 grew burls.

 

Pixar

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I've seen large tree with a burl in the canopy of the tree ( how does it get there ? )
 

Pixar

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No it was a Eucalyptus - burl was just below the canopy
Drove past it for years ( thought it look cool )
My friend was a forest logger at the time and he said he would love to have it ( for the timber )
 

caffeinated

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There are always ways to be different and sometimes it's awesome but not recognized as awesome for a while, sometimes it's just different and not so great. We would be a boring society if people didn't try new weird shit. In typical bonsai, bulbous growth is generally what we try to avoid on most sylized trees. That doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't do it, and you could find some species of tree that whatever method you try works amazing on for whatever aesthetique your going for. Your tree doesn't have to please anyone else but you. Well, unless you enter it in a contest...
 

Pixar

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Well said , Thanks . I like the type of wood a burl creates ( makes awesome bowls etc...)
 

Shibui

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I've seen large tree with a burl in the canopy of the tree ( how does it get there ? )
Are we all talking about the same thing?
I understand burl to be a woody growth on the trunk, more rarely on branches.
Witches broom is a cluster of dwarf foliage - usually in the canopy.
Mistletoe can also form a similar cluster of slightly different foliage and may also include a swollen connection (hastoria) to the host tree.

Just asking because of the reference to a burl in the canopy but I now see further ref to just below the canopy and in the interests of having everyone on the same page.......

I did some research on burls. Most pointed to an infection gaining entry thorough an injury. There were some reports that burls can be developed by infecting a wound in a tree with material from an existing burl on another tree.

Personally I would rather have the bonsai pots displayed on a nicely polished slab of burl wood than have one grow on my bonsai but each to their own.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Well said , Thanks . I like the type of wood a burl creates ( makes awesome bowls etc...)
Absolutely. Next time I'm in the woods here I'll take some photos of oaks burls. They are relatively common on trees here in the state park.

Assuming you would be successful inoculating your tree with fungus to create a burl, I think your challenge would be to guide the growth of the burl in such as way as to enhance, versus detract from, the appearance of the bonsai. It is somewhat akin to leaving a full-sized apple on an apple bonsai tree. Yeah, you can do it, but the scale of the apple immediately defeats any attempt you were making to create the feeling of a miniature tree. You might find that while you were trying to create a burl the size of a walnut, you end up with a much larger mass that continues to grow, and end up with a lump the size of a grapefruit in the middle of your trunk.

But don't let nay-sayers like me cause you to give up :) Try it and see, and let us know how it turns out! It is one thing for me to say "I think this might happen"... and another thing to say "this DID happen".
 

just.wing.it

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I think I have a burl growing at the base of my Willow Leaf Oak.
All I did was cut off 90% of its roots and screw it down to a small wood board.
 

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