liquidambar progression

zelk

Shohin
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Location
San DIego
USDA Zone
10a
Hey guys,

I paid $38 dollars for this Liquidambar Orientalis. I purchased it at the Bonsai-A-Thon convention which took place at Huntington Gardens in San Marino, CA. This tree had several problems with the most obvious being the cluttered apex which was starting to give the tree reverse taper. The branches on this tree are out of proportion and since I am aiming for thicker ones at the bottom and thinner branches higher up I removed all of them. Bad nebari structure, this tree has some very bad rootage and after repotting it I can tell that the soil in the pot is starting to break down so by next year I plan to repot again. I need to remove the remainder that is around the base which I think has caused some smaller surface roots to rot.
 

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I am not really sure what caused the unusual bulge of roots at the trunk base. I've asked at club meetings and "twisted" roots early in the trees life may have caused this problem.
I have to get rid of this ugly problem or at least minimize its presence. Carving it out, or just chopping it off, are just two things I've considered.
 

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here is one to give you the scale
 

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I am allowing the branches at the base to grow freely; they will catch up in thickness with the other ones. I repotted it into a shallower but wider wooden grow box this spring. I do notice improvement since when I got it last year and I am happy with how much better it looks since then. I know there are several more flaws I have to fix but I think that will come with time as my skills improve



My questions are:
-What should I do about the bulge at the root base?
-How well does wood from Liquidambar hold up against moisture if I was to carve out a hollow at the base?
-Since liquidambars are very apicaly dominant what should I do to get stronger growth at lower branches?
 

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Ground layer it right above the bulge. This will bring the height of the tree lower and also bring those first branches lower as well.


Will
 

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Hey Zelk...Your tree looks pretty good in Will's virt..I would give that a try...
 
I am allowing the branches at the base to grow freely; they will catch up in thickness with the other ones. I repotted it into a shallower but wider wooden grow box this spring. I do notice improvement since when I got it last year and I am happy with how much better it looks since then. I know there are several more flaws I have to fix but I think that will come with time as my skills improve



My questions are:
-What should I do about the bulge at the root base?
-How well does wood from Liquidambar hold up against moisture if I was to carve out a hollow at the base?
-Since liquidambars are very apicaly dominant what should I do to get stronger growth at lower branches?

If you carve it out you will have to seal it. Liquidambar is a member of the Sweet Gum family. The wood is moderately hard but not rot resistant in the least. I once made some stakes out of Sweet Gum to support a young Wisteria tree planted in the ground. They rotted off at the ground within a year.
 
Zelk, Exactly how tall is your sweet gum? The ribbing in the bamboo mat would suggest that it is quite tall. If this is the case, then I would suggest taking Will's suggestion a bit farther and layering it further up the tree. This would solve the base problem and also deal with the your branching inquirey.
Bringing the whole image into proportion.
 
Thanks.


Based on the 1x on the growing box, I estimated the tree to be about 10-11 inches in height from the current soil level to the apex.


Will
 
Will_heath said:
Ground layer it right above the bulge. This will bring the height of the tree lower and also bring those first branches lower as well.

Nice virt, I like that. That’s probably the route that I am going to take now. This will also help make the fist branches seem lower.

Vance_Wood said:
If you carve it out you will have to seal it. Liquidambar is a member of the Sweet Gum family. The wood is moderately hard but not rot resistant in the least. I once made some stakes out of Sweet Gum to support a young Wisteria tree planted in the ground. They rotted off at the ground within a year.

So carving at such a low level is probably not the best idea considering that it will be in contact with lots of moisture.


Tachigi said:
Zelk, Exactly how tall is your sweet gum? The ribbing in the bamboo mat would suggest that it is quite tall. If this is the case, then I would suggest taking Will's suggestion a bit farther and layering it further up the tree. This would solve the base problem and also deal with the your branching inquirey.
Bringing the whole image into proportion.

19.5” tall from base
 
I like the idea of layering it off. But would it be better to perform this technique now while its young, opposed to 3-5 years from now?

Nice tree zelk.
 
I like the idea of layering it off. But would it be better to perform this technique now while its young, opposed to 3-5 years from now?

Nice tree zelk.


I personally perfer to do corrective layering as soon as:

a) I see the problem

and b) The tree is healthy and vigorous enough to handle it.



Will
 
The sooner the layer is struck, the more seasons you have to improve the nebari. With a good radial root spread, the nebari will widen appreciably, giving you more taper for the tree.
 
Hello,
Any up date for this tree?
I have a twin trunk that I just repotted but I am considering approach grafts of Asian amber.
 
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