"Make That a Four Year Progression", and Other Changes
Here's a fun tree, IMO. These guys grow great up here, the foliage so vigorous it's hard to keep up with. Pest free, at least here.
I bought this tree 4 years ago from Dan Robinson. It had been field grown for 40 years before he acquired it, I forget who from. I liked the trunk and the overall ungainly quality of the thing, and I loved the unruly nebari. The top seemed hopeless, and I initially had no idea what I would do to correct that, but I thought it would be fun to try to make something out of it.
The first photo was taken that season, transplanted into a training pot, although I still had no clue how I might train it. I sat with it over a long period of time trying to get a sense of it's growth habits and how it might want to go. The down hanging back bud, and the smaller back bud further down were all I had to work with short of something like a graft or some radical solution. I protected those two back buds, and it paid off nicely. They back bud rarely onto really old wood - I was quite fortunate.
I also piled some sphagnum moss over the flat, almost concave base at the rear after scarring and applying growth hormone in a number of areas. It cannot be seen well in subsequent photos, but many small roots developed, and are thickening nicely - next year or two I may repeat the process to create a more viable base in the back, and I've even thought of making that the front since the trunk, though lacking the uro, has an overall more pleasing shape from that side.
In 2007 I transfered it into a slightly smaller drum, and gave it it's initial styling.
Third is an HDR photo from 2008 that shows it in an Erin pot, with some wild summer foliage bursting at the seams after a mere year. The growth on this guy is extremely impressive, making the styling fascinating - it's like a whole new tree with lots of new possibilities every year if I want it to be.
Then here are three shots from this year: late winter; an HDR photo from early spring when the new foliage looks like bottle brushes or some such; and then the third photo the other day after some late summer trimming.
I may develop that top-most sprig of foliage to have it come hanging down some, otherwise it looks kind of silly just sitting up there, but I don’t know that I would like the tree without it entirely. There are still lots of directions I could take with this tree’s foliage, given the amount it puts out every year. Fun trees to play with.
Nice work with this interesting material. Larch are the best, and I like where this in heading. The shot when the foliage just begins to open is great! I've enjoyed all the trees you've been posting lately, and look forward to more. thanks for sharing.
Very very nice tree. It's always a pleasure to see the trees that you post. They are a huge inspiration to me. I actually have two japanese larch in my collection right now that are going to begin their journey in the spring, and this larch has really inspired me. Hope to see much more of your trees in the future!
Only subtle differences in this latest update, but the techniques used are interesting, and probably with much less chance of success with anything other than a really robust tree like a Japanese larch.
I never liked the way the lower left branch came off at too wide a forward angle to the trunk. It was too stiff to bring down by bending, and I've never been a big fan of the very unnatural wedge technique, so I simply did what nature does: I weakened the wood at the top of the crotch with some concave cutter and mild sawwing action, and once weakened enough the branch sheared down with a very natural crack. It doesn't look very obvious or natural yet, because I smeared vasoline on it as cut paste to keep the exposed cambium moist - probably not necessary with a J larch, but I did it anyway just to be sure. That was about three months ago, and the branch is doing fine. I'll lime sulfur it next year, and it should look very natural.
The other bold technique involved a gnarly root in the back with something of the configuration of the one on the left - it can't be seen all that well in most photos. It connected to the trunk very much to the left part of the back, but the center of the back has always annoyed me by being bereft of roots. I had induced a few near the sides a few years ago, but the center of the back was still bare, and at thebbase there it had no living tissue. So, I cut off the gnarly, knobby root, bare-rooted it, and moved it, planting it off to the right rear, and grafting it into the bare center of the back a few inches up where there was live tissue. The graft took fine - only in a Japanese larch! The knob can be seen now poking out at the right base in the photo. I like the way it looks there, and the tree looks much better from the rear and other angles as well.
Great tree Grouper. I've been admiring it since your 3 photos were posted 1 year ago today - Sep. 3,'09. Subtle changes along the way, it keeps maturing nicely. I especially like the jinned top as I have been seeing more of that with larch lately and I plan to use it in my designs as well. Keep up the good work.