JRP Cascade Styling - T bar branches have to go?

Clicio

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Hello all.
My Red Pine is healthy and growing well under the first warm days of Autumn (it was horrible for almost 4 months of summer; 100ºF and above every day).
Trouble is, I need some ideas. I got it one year ago as a present from a good friend, that had grown it from seedling, so it was his styling.
From the beginning the double T bar branches bother me, but... I have been afraid of chopping them off and then regret it.
Could you give some nice ideas? The pictures below show the whole tree and the "problem".
Any comment welcome, as always!

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0soyoung

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I don't think those are a problem unless showing those Ts are being featured. That is, if this is your intended front

20190328_144502-jpg.234270


the bar branches will be a big problem. In fact, the design would be the problem far more than the bar branches.

A front like featured in your first two photos would be far better. The main stem shows some nice undulation. It would be improved, IMHO, if it also turned toward the front as it descended, so that ultimately the foliage presents at nice 'stairway to heaven' or expresses something like an extended arm with a palm upward hand that offers to give something or a hand up to the viewer. I don't think the bar branches would be a problem with this, though one on the inside of such a curve might become disposable.

Your tree also has a nice (more or less) vertical trunk up top which means you definitely have the opportunity to make this into a formal cascade design.

Time to start candle pruning to reduce needle size and induce more ramification next year (again, IMHO).
 

Clicio

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I don't think those are a problem unless showing those Ts are being featured.
A front like featured in your first two photos would be far better.

Thanks a lot, @0soyoung . I agree with the front being the "side" of the matsu, and yes, plans for next season are needle reduction and improvements to the ramification.
I liked also the idea of turning the front towards the viewer, let's see if I manage to do it right.
 

barrosinc

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Sometimes it's easier to put a cloth on top of the branches to be cut and see how it looks
 

namnhi

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If I had decided to chop them, I would go for the branches on the insides of the curves of the main trunk.
That's definitely is what I would do. Good plan, I forgot that no branch on the inside curve rule
 

Stan Kengai

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Your tree looks nice and healthy. I would remove the inside bar branches, as you have suggested. The voids will be filled in the future with ramification from adjacent branches, and remaining voids will create interest.

If you leave those branches, your tree will be overcrowded eventually, and you would not be able to see the structure.
 

Japonicus

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Your tree looks nice and healthy. I would remove the inside bar branches, as you have suggested. The voids will be filled in the future with ramification from adjacent branches, and remaining voids will create interest.

If you leave those branches, your tree will be overcrowded eventually, and you would not be able to see the structure.
Surely the voids can be overcome somewhat, wiring the branch above the void down.
The one on the left side is a bit crowding near the rim of the pot, and could lower part ways down
between the void and the rim of the pot near where a branch sort of should come from the trunk but is not there now.

Nice tree @Clicio I was left hanging in the previous thread. Glad you linked this one :) I likes it!
 

PiñonJ

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The main problem with the bar branches is that they will cause unsightly swelling where they emerge from the trunk. The sooner you can deal with them, the better your final design will be.
 

Ryceman3

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It's always hard to get a comprehensive appreciation for the tree in 3D from pictures, but from the shot provided I think I would remove the blue ...
20190328_144002B.jpg

... and rewire to get growth to fill the voids. The branches you keep are on the putside of the curve (as already mentioned) which is good, but also they look to have slightly better ramification so for me that would seal the deal. Getting light in by opening up the foliage will also help to promote budding and increase your future design/styling options. Nice tree!
 

Potawatomi13

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It's always hard to get a comprehensive appreciation for the tree in 3D from pictures, but from the shot provided I think I would remove the blue ...
View attachment 234326

... and rewire to get growth to fill the voids. The branches you keep are on the putside of the curve (as already mentioned) which is good, but also they look to have slightly better ramification so for me that would seal the deal. Getting light in by opening up the foliage will also help to promote budding and increase your future design/styling options. Nice tree!

"Except" upper branch going Rt. goes away from main branch/trunk while left one grows into main trunk or branch and would be better removed. Results in both keepers inside bendso_O. Solution is rebend main branch these grow from to change this;). Personally cannot abide bar branches either.
 

Shibui

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I would nearly always reduce branches like this to 2 BUT.... always consider removing the main trunk and using the remaining 2 branches as an alternative. Using branches to replace the trunk nearly always adds taper to the trunkline and will introduce some bends that wiring rarely achieves. This may not always be appropriate but no-one has yet even suggested they have considered this alternative approach to this problem.

Sometimes bar branches need to stay to provide foliage. In many cases we spend many years developing branches and bulking up foliage. This tree is very full and will probably continue to get more crowded. Making some space by removing a couple of branches may appear drastic at first but afterwards you will usually wonder why you had not done it sooner.

Some bonsai styles need plenty of bulk but others are the result of harsh conditions. Should cascade style be full and bulky or somewhat sparse?

All replies so far seem to focus on the cascade trunk (as we were asked about). I find the tall apex quite distracting. Tree seems unsure whether to be cascade or upright? IMHO at some stage consider some reduction of the top or consider total restyle.
 

Adair M

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I would nearly always reduce branches like this to 2 BUT.... always consider removing the main trunk and using the remaining 2 branches as an alternative. Using branches to replace the trunk nearly always adds taper to the trunkline and will introduce some bends that wiring rarely achieves. This may not always be appropriate but no-one has yet even suggested they have considered this alternative approach to this problem.

Sometimes bar branches need to stay to provide foliage. In many cases we spend many years developing branches and bulking up foliage. This tree is very full and will probably continue to get more crowded. Making some space by removing a couple of branches may appear drastic at first but afterwards you will usually wonder why you had not done it sooner.

Some bonsai styles need plenty of bulk but others are the result of harsh conditions. Should cascade style be full and bulky or somewhat sparse?

All replies so far seem to focus on the cascade trunk (as we were asked about). I find the tall apex quite distracting. Tree seems unsure whether to be cascade or upright? IMHO at some stage consider some reduction of the top or consider total restyle.
That style of cascade where there was an informal upright section growing upward was called a “Formal Cascade”. That style is not as popular these days. Most prefer to have the whole tree just cascade downwards as it is “more natural”.

Of course, it can be done either way. Bonsai styles come and go.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I’d make a plan to reduce any branches which emerge in 3s to pairs. I’m assuming this tree cascades to the right, and from this photo, the front is on the left side:
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I’d reduce the back branch in 2 phases, single line first, and next year the double line.
When you compact a tree like this, the resulting look is older and cleaner, and often a thicker-looking trunk.

One of last year’s International Bonsai magazines features Kimura styling an old JRP in literati style. His branch selection was intuitive, textbook, and effective. It looked natural, but if you study his branch selection, he went left right back, left right back. Nothing on the inside of curves, no bar branches. Reduce the tree to the essential elements. Cascade isn’t unlike literati in this regard.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I’ll add that JRP are very brittle too, so wire with care.
 

Clicio

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I’ll add that JRP are very brittle too, so wire with care.
Thanks for your suggestions and tips, very welcome. I will surely take your ideas into consideration before doing anything drastic to the tree.
Yes, it's been wired by me, and it feels different from a JBP.
 

Clicio

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That style of cascade where there was an informal upright section growing upward was called a “Formal Cascade”. That style is not as popular these days. Most prefer to have the whole tree just cascade downwards as it is “more natural”.
Of course, it can be done either way. Bonsai styles come and go.

Thanks, @Adair M , that was the idea when I asked about the apex in another thread one year ago. It's still easy to get rid of the top, if I fell the design will improve. Let's see in the future.
 

Clicio

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Well, a little update in Spring 2020.
The red cascade pine is doing well, the needles started to reduce after being decandled in mid-summer, will rewire after decandling it next summer.
It looks very untidy right now, but it's ok, it must grow before being beaten again.

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Potawatomi13

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If I had decided to chop them, I would go for the branches on the insides of the curves of the main trunk.
Very much agreed. Generally another branch could fill space left in foliage within 2-4 years. Not a fan of rules but very much disdain 95% of bar branches.
 

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