Mountain Hemlock First Styling

Josh88

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IMG_0424.JPG IMG_1722.JPG I found this mountain hemlock early this spring hiding in the corner of a local nursery. It had been shaded out by its neighbors for along time, and I took it home with plans of trying a literati/slant style. First pic is as purchased. It grew quite well this season not being shaded out. I put it on the bench last night to look at it for a while and decided to give it some initial direction. I found limited options in picking a front as most angles hid what little movement there is in the lower trunk, and a few branches crossed the trunk with no real hope of correction, so Inhad to hide that or get rid of them, and at many angles it leaned away from the viewer. I thinned the apex but did not wire or cut too much there, as I want to sit with that a little longer before making my choices. Thoughts, advice, and critiques are most welcome.
Josh
 

berobinson82

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The angle seems a bit extreme to me. I'd also pull thos branches down more. It's style like a deciduous tree right now.

Cheers,
B
 

just.wing.it

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Cool!
I agree with pulling some of those branches downward more...

The foliage looks very different from the hemlocks I see over here on the east coast.

Is the trunk too stiff to bend a bit?
Could add some more movement, if so.
 

Josh88

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Cool!
I agree with pulling some of those branches downward more...

The foliage looks very different from the hemlocks I see over here on the east coast.

Is the trunk too stiff to bend a bit?
Could add some more movement, if so.
There's a little flex in the trunk, but not much. I started to wire it but the bark is easily damaged. Perhaps wrapping with raffia will help avoid this problem and let me add some movement. I believe the needles of western and eastern hemlock emerge from the sides of branches, and mountain hemlock the needles encircle the branches.
 

just.wing.it

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There's a little flex in the trunk, but not much. I started to wire it but the bark is easily damaged. Perhaps wrapping with raffia will help avoid this problem and let me add some movement. I believe the needles of western and eastern hemlock emerge from the sides of branches, and mountain hemlock the needles encircle the branches.
That sounds right to me....very cool.
 
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I think this might be a pine and not a hemlock. I am also more familiar with eastern hemlock, but the western hemlock I've seen have smaller (I wouldn't quite call them needles) leaves and tighter ramification than the eastern hemlock.
 
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Nice material though whatever the species. I think some more but subtle movement and a little tighter ramification and this will be looking great.
 

ghues

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I think this might be a pine and not a hemlock. I am also more familiar with eastern hemlock, but the western hemlock I've seen have smaller (I wouldn't quite call them needles) leaves and tighter ramification than the eastern hemlock.
Afraid not, pine needles are in sheaths with 2/3/5 per, this is a Mountain Hemlock from the photos provided.


There's a little flex in the trunk, but not much. I started to wire it but the bark is easily damaged. Perhaps wrapping with raffia will help avoid this problem and let me add some movement. I believe the needles of western and eastern hemlock emerge from the sides of branches, and mountain hemlock the needles encircle the branches.
With the trunk of this size you could easily add movement if you wanted. For Mountain Hemlock inspiration, check out Michael Hagedorn's website https://crataegus.com/
As others have stated set the angle of the branches more (as can be seem on MH's site), also when it's closer to refinement, the branch tips bend slightly upwards and remove all downward facing needles and branchlets. You'll have to find a small round pot.
It's still young in training so take it slow.
 

petegreg

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View attachment 160826 View attachment 160827 I found this mountain hemlock early this spring hiding in the corner of a local nursery. It had been shaded out by its neighbors for along time, and I took it home with plans of trying a literati/slant style. First pic is as purchased. It grew quite well this season not being shaded out. I put it on the bench last night to look at it for a while and decided to give it some initial direction. I found limited options in picking a front as most angles hid what little movement there is in the lower trunk, and a few branches crossed the trunk with no real hope of correction, so Inhad to hide that or get rid of them, and at many angles it leaned away from the viewer. I thinned the apex but did not wire or cut too much there, as I want to sit with that a little longer before making my choices. Thoughts, advice, and critiques are most welcome.
Josh
Please, do not take this as a critique. I like the direction of your tree. Nice young feminine slanting trunk. But there's something to think about... As some mentioned before, the angles of branches... Those on the left I'd try to push down more and those on the right , well, too, but less. Another thing is...if you have a slim tree, you need a short branches closer to the trunk. Not saying the branches are too long, just for future. Overly long young branches can be easily shortened by making few bends...

Truly the only thing I can criticize is ... The branches are bent to the left and to the right mostly. We need some branches in the back of the tree to create the visual depth. And some branches directing to a viewer as well. Not initial turns from the trunk, at least the main direction and a visual weight of foliage. I bet this young tree looks flat if you look at it from the sides. Saying young, because it must only get better.
 

MACH5

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Josh as mentioned, I would take the opportunity to give the trunk some movement by wiring it. Although the tree is young, you can quickly impart a look of age by creating greater negative spaces and reducing the volume of the foliage.

In bonsai, I believe one of the greatest tools we have, is the effective use of negative spaces. It's the art of what we leave out as much as what we show.
 

Josh88

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I really appreciate everyone's input! This tree was one of a few that I bought this spring to improve the quality of material I am working with. It spoke to me as having potential and I'm glad I have all of your shared wisdom and experience to try to reach that potential.
 

Josh88

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Afraid not, pine needles are in sheaths with 2/3/5 per, this is a Mountain Hemlock from the photos provided.



With the trunk of this size you could easily add movement if you wanted. For Mountain Hemlock inspiration, check out Michael Hagedorn's website https://crataegus.com/
As others have stated set the angle of the branches more (as can be seem on MH's site), also when it's closer to refinement, the branch tips bend slightly upwards and remove all downward facing needles and branchlets. You'll have to find a small round pot.
It's still young in training so take it slow.
When I started to wire the trunk I found the bark was easily damaged. Would raffia effectively remedy this problem?
 

ghues

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When I started to wire the trunk I found the bark was easily damaged. Would raffia effectively remedy this problem?
I'm sure it would but I've never used it....instead I use bicycle inner tube strips (local bike shop gives old ones away), double wrap it at the bottom of the trunk (securing it) and wrap the trunk making sure that you have a good overlap. At the top of the wrap secure it by tying it off. For major bends I put thick wires parallel to the trunk equally around the trunk (this tree might take 3 medium gauge or ......a heavy gauge perhaps with normal wiring techniques i.e. 45 degrees up the trunk) then wrap all three wires and trunk again with the bicycle tube strips. Bend the way you want......if you want major twists, bends, I would recommend you start with smaller ones, leave it and then come back and add a little more twist, bend. Be careful doing it this time of year as the sap is active and you could do damage.
Cheers
G.
 

sorce

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Bro!

Burn the raffia and hold up one second!

Don your Future Vision Goggles....tune to 20years...

That trunk is So fucking beautiful right NOW.
When the entire straight length of it is barked up on that lean....
With just that subtle direction change down low...

God Damn!

I could see you using just the first branch in about 5-10 years....

My thing...

I think we bend stuff up and try to conform a tree to some image in our mind of a twisted tree as if it is EVERYTHING.
But then we have a tree that tells a story more of your wiring than any mountainous effects.

I think it's much more appropriate to consider WHAT OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE DISPLAY TO AD, TO MAKE THE CURRENT TREE MAKE SENSE.

Like....20170916_031742.jpg

All of a sudden your tree gets to remain MORE healthy and it starts to tell a story that makes sense.

The way I see it, next year could be the year you find a naturally twisted one, so allow this one it's fastest path to greatness for what it IS!

Use ALL the elements in the final display....
Even if you are never going to formally display it.

I think you're totally on the right track right now.

A track with a few safe, healthy, aesthetically pleasing outcomes that time will help determine.

Sorce
 

Josh88

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IMG_1731.JPG I got a branch bender today and added some subtle movement in the straight section of trunk, and brought the branches down lower. The bender obscures the first branch on the right. Still lots of clean up to do in the future, just trying to lay out the main structure for pads. Since these don't tend to back bud well I'm taking it slow. Any thoughts on the changes?
 

M. Frary

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branch bender
I almost got one this year but then I found wire and raffia work just as good and there won't be the chance of flat spots where the pressure points of the bender touch.
I would definitely want to put more movement in the trunk. Because if you do use future vision goggles I think you will wish you had put more interest in the trunk now instead of waiting.
I would have wanted to make the place where the bender is have more bend to bring the top up more in line with the base.
I actually see spots for at least 3 more benders.
 

Josh88

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IMG_1759.JPG IMG_1761.JPG Made a few more minor adjustments and I'm hoping for some input on whether folks think the changes are progress or just running in circles. I brought the top left branch down out of the apex, and adjusted the bends so there was less arc close to the trunk. Here is a pic from the side as well so depth is more evident. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
 

Josh88

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So the branch bender sucks, just like everyone said it would. It was beginning to leave the dreaded flat spot I had been warned about so I took it off earlier this year. I applied wire this weekend to add a bit of movement, and ran into an issue I was hoping to get some technique guidance on:
When applying the thick wire moving up the trunk I had to finagle the wire down and around to avoid the downward wired branches. In doing so I was not able to keep the wire tight to the trunk, and those gaps were then worsened when adding the bends. It appears that the job will be just good enough to be functional for what I need, but not ideal functionally and certainly not looking like top notch craftsmanship. Any technique suggestions for keeping thick wire tight to the trunk while avoiding downward facing branches? Is it simply a matter of better support technique with my off hand or are there any helpful tricks?
9057B214-3967-4123-B9E7-D8E3B45B50F5.jpeg
 
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