larch suggestions please

koyote1

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Hi folks. When I first saw this j. larch I had to have it. It looked nothing like anything else at the nursery(hornbeams & shimps). I thought it had great potential, and I would let it become what it wants to become. But now 2 weeks later I feel like I should have some game plan, and I usually see these trees upright, informal, or grouped. Is this tree windswept material? So you know, the jinned branch, that could have made a nice apex, was already dead. I simpley gave it the jin. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.-Kevin
 

cbobgo

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If this is the kind of stuff you like, you should get Nick Lenz's book "Bonsai From the Wild."

http://www.stonelantern.com/bookswild.html

He has a whole section on Larch that I think would give you some good ideas.

Your 3rd and 4th pics are the most interesting to me. I don't think windswept is the way to go, but more of a rugged informal upright. The bark suggests a tree that has born the wieght of many harsh seasons. I envision something with cragly drooping branches that have been weighed down by years of heavy snowfalls.

Good luck with this one, keep us posted on how it develops.

- bob
 

koyote1

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Thanks Cbobgo for the book suggestion. It looks fantastic. I truely appreciate the beauty of deadwood & trees that have endured the worst Mother Nature can dish out. I actually found a signed copy of a 1997 edition on Amazon for $25, and I'll still reserve a copy of the new one from Stone Lantern. The author of the 1997 one is Alexandra N. Lenz, so I'll get 'em both.
 
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On Nick Lenz...while you wait for his book, "Bonsai From The Wild" you can see some of his work in his gallery here.

On the Larch shown, it has some good potential and I think it certainly is a "keeper" to work with.



Will
 

koyote1

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Wow. Amazing stuff. This guy's the Tim Burton of bonsai. I'm sure some people say he's bastardising the industry, but as an someone w/ a sculpture/design degree, I appeciate pushing the envelope. Great larch ideas. Thanks. Now I really hope this this first book is signed and legit.
 
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candyjshirey

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Wow. Amazing stuff. This guy's the Tim Burton of bonsai.
This may confirm that thought: surreal bonsai in development

However, his book is more on the horticulture of collected trees and if you are looking for the art or creative aspect, you may be disappointed.

Nick does push the envelope. His creative genius combined with his mastery of the art of bonsai has produced some exquisite compositions. He is an amazing American bonsai artist.

-Candy
 

Rick Moquin

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Although Nick pushes the envelope, it is my opinion that he creates art vice bonsai. (Now that should open up a can of worms). Some of his designs are extremely powerful as art but as bonsai he did not receive favourable reviews during the NA vs Europe contest. His work has it's place and he has definitely done some great work with larches. If one was to remove the distractions from his compositions, extremely powerful lines can de seen.
 

cbobgo

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the new book is just an updated version of the old one - a fair ammount of additional material, actually.

While Candy is right about mostly focusing on the horticulture, he does give some good design ideas, specifically in the larch section.

- bob
 

koyote1

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I am very fond of the skulls & bones. As a tracker and naturalist I have more skulls & bones than I know what to do with. There's only so much room for deer femur & ribs wind chimes on my front porch. Now I'll have to explore "root over racoon skull" or a raft style emurging from a deer spine. Thank you kindly.
 

tom tynan

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Kevin:

For me - this tree needs more time growing in the ground - there is not much taper from the base of the tree to the first major curve; plus the curve seems to be in the upper third of the tree. The lower third of the trunk is just so straight; gives the feeling of a very young tree.

No one else has posted to my point that the tree needs to grow more. If you research Nick Lenz more [Art of Bonsai website I believe] there is an excellent article on developing taper with Larch. This explains the topic thoroughly. OK - so now you will have to plant the tree and let it grow. The good news is that with good care the tree will fatten up quickly; maybe 5-7 years ?? You will need to keep all the low branches; esp. if the tree pops new buds - which it should. Bythe way...Nick Lenz talks about collected Larch needing 10 to 15 years in the development phase....

The tree does not have a windswept feel to me; leaning the crown over the edge of the pot does not do it.

So planting the Larch in the ground and letting the base get much bigger is the key to the tree's development; you will have plenty of time to decide whether an upright form or windswept works best. It is your tree and you will have to decide which way to go.

Good luck...Tom
 

JasonG

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Hi Kevin,

I think the 4th picture is the best angle for sure... and with very little work you can have a pleasing looking tree....
If this tree were mine I would wire most of the branches down like Bob suggested and cut it back pretty hard. The picture form the top shows that everything is really long, so a good cutting back would tidy things up and help to ramify.
As for putting it back in the ground... not a bad idea. We can get larches from a liner size, trunk size about the size of a pen, to a 3" trunk in 4 years or so. But if you do decide to put it in the ground expect the first year to be root prodution before you see good growth in the foliage and another year before you see noticable trunk difference. On the flip side of that though is the fact that you have a jin at the top, if you were to run a shari down the trunk a ways then the taper would be a less of an issue. This would show that the tree was once taller and lightning, (or whatever story you make up) had killed off the top and the lower branches survived to create a good tree. It is up to you and could go either way and still be a nice tree.
I don't think this will ever be a masterpiece bonsai but you are way ahead of stick in pot status, lol!!! Have fun with this one and keep us posted on what you decide to do....

Jason
 

Vance Wood

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Hi Kevin,

I think the 4th picture is the best angle for sure... and with very little work you can have a pleasing looking tree....
If this tree were mine I would wire most of the branches down like Bob suggested and cut it back pretty hard. The picture form the top shows that everything is really long, so a good cutting back would tidy things up and help to ramify.
As for putting it back in the ground... not a bad idea. We can get larches from a liner size, trunk size about the size of a pen, to a 3" trunk in 4 years or so. But if you do decide to put it in the ground expect the first year to be root prodution before you see good growth in the foliage and another year before you see noticable trunk difference. On the flip side of that though is the fact that you have a jin at the top, if you were to run a shari down the trunk a ways then the taper would be a less of an issue. This would show that the tree was once taller and lightning, (or whatever story you make up) had killed off the top and the lower branches survived to create a good tree. It is up to you and could go either way and still be a nice tree.
I don't think this will ever be a masterpiece bonsai but you are way ahead of stick in pot status, lol!!! Have fun with this one and keep us posted on what you decide to do....

Jason
I agree with this point of view all the way down the line. All that is left to do is wire out the foliage layers, clean up the branch placement and start a pinching program. In fact you could put this tree in an appropriate bonsai pot and get away with showing it now.
 

koyote1

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Everything said thus far is well understood and appreciated. I thought heavely about putting in the groundwhen I bought it, but I'm moving shortly after getting married in Oct, maybe not 'till the spring of '08. I could certainly put it in the ground where I live now, and check up on the tree when we visit her folks(I'd like to keep that to a minimum). Then I saw my j. maples that are in the ground infested w/ aphids and decided NO. My landloard's a great guy. He wouldn't mind at all, but I'd constantly be wondering how my trees are doing. We're moving from w'chester NY to the north shore of Boston suburbs.
 
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