Mountain Hemlock - Upright - Nebari

Bonsai206

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I recently placed my hemlock in to a wood container I made. The tree was buried in soil, pretty far (see last photo). I was pleasantly surprised that the flare continued and there was some decent roots I was starting to expose. I brushed and cleaned the surface of the nebari, and noticed a few days later it was quite discolored. When I planted, I kept a good part of the original rootball and soil, which looks to be pretty saturated with iron. I used a mix of 25% akadama, 25% kiryu, 25% pumice, and 25% lava. I have a feeling that eventually the color will fade and bark will form, I could be wrong. Is there anything I can do to help the nebari? Next repotting season I was thinking to remove more of the original soil and replace with my mix. Maybe I should just leave it alone? Thoughts?

Also, if you have any styling suggestions please feel free to add! The main portion is about 78" tall, the smaller trunk is about 36" tall. I'm willing to lose a good portion off the top, possibly jin.

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Burried.
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Leo in N E Illinois

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The fine roots that are currently exposed should be buried. So I would add another half inch of media, or whatever it takes to cover any root more slender than a pencil. The newly exposed part of the trunk will weather to match the rest of the trunk in less than 2 years.
 

0soyoung

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A father-son composition, obviously. Or maybe it is a Rick and Morty.
Big guy moving on with little guy trailing behind. It would be nice if the little guy's trunk had a bit of movement and wasn't a straight dowel, but I am not at all confident that anything can be done about it.
 

Bonsai206

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A father-son composition, obviously. Or maybe it is a Rick and Morty.
Big guy moving on with little guy trailing behind. It would be nice if the little guy's trunk had a bit of movement and wasn't a straight dowel, but I am not at all confident that anything can be done about it.
I could guy wire to the box...maybe in a couple of directions. I won't get major movement, but could get some.

If I had the guts I could use a branch splitter, raffia, and some thick gauge copper. I'm going to blame the fact I don't have thick copper wire. :p
 

Bonsai206

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The fine roots that are currently exposed should be buried. So I would add another half inch of media, or whatever it takes to cover any root more slender than a pencil. The newly exposed part of the trunk will weather to match the rest of the trunk in less than 2 years.
Added more. Thanks for the advice.
 

River's Edge

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I could guy wire to the box...maybe in a couple of directions. I won't get major movement, but could get some.

If I had the guts I could use a branch splitter, raffia, and some thick gauge copper. I'm going to blame the fact I don't have thick copper wire. :p
Hemlock of that age can be wired and bent for movement using heavy gauge copper wire! I wrap the trunk in rafia and then cover the rafia with inner tube wrap. Take an old bicycle inner tube and cut it open lengthways, makes a great protective wrap! If you look closely at the trunk there will be natural small changes od direction that can be used for bend points! For this composition I would try to have the small trunk mimic the flow of the larger trunk, and if possible coming first together and then slightly away with the apex of the smaller finishing in the same direction as the larger tree!
Even the larger thicker trunks can be moved with time and technique! The bark on both of your trunks indicate younger trees that can be moved! Here is my father and son composition that required a lot of bending to improve the original form.
Two small pictures to show original form and result after four years of wiring, bending and refinement. Original picture taken November 2014, the other picture taken March 2018.
 

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Bonsai206

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Hemlock of that age can be wired and bent for movement using heavy gauge copper wire! I wrap the trunk in rafia and then cover the rafia with inner tube wrap. Take an old bicycle inner tube and cut it open lengthways, makes a great protective wrap! If you look closely at the trunk there will be natural small changes od direction that can be used for bend points! For this composition I would try to have the small trunk mimic the flow of the larger trunk, and if possible coming first together and then slightly away with the apex of the smaller finishing in the same direction as the larger tree!
Even the larger thicker trunks can be moved with time and technique! The bark on both of your trunks indicate younger trees that can be moved! Here is my father and son composition that required a lot of bending to improve the original form.
Two small pictures to show original form and result after four years of wiring, bending and refinement. Original picture taken November 2014, the other picture taken March 2018.
Thanks! I’ll have to study it a bit, and plan a direction.
 

Potawatomi13

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Abbott and Costello😁. Before bending give time to let roots establish in pot so new small roots not broken by movement in pot. Likely until next bending season(late Winter?).
 

River's Edge

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Thanks! I’ll have to study it a bit, and plan a direction.
Hemlock can be slow to establish but are very strong once adapted. Often it helps to give them several years to strengthen up before any additional work. After collection I often take three years to complete repotting and establish the tree before serious work begins!
They rely heavily on feeder roots near the surface, so it pays to reduce top roots slowly.
For wiring and bending I do all my major work in the winter. The major branches and trunks will take several seasons to set in place and may need to be rewired several times. Copper is needed for most effective results. Aluminum will not hold well enough on major branches or trunk. The branches will set better if they are worked a bit during the wiring process.
Be prepared to have a variety of copper wire sizes to properly wire a hemlock. I have used all sizes on a larger tree from #4 to #22. When you get closer to refinement the smaller sizes get the most use #16-#22.
I would leave all of the branches and foliage for the first year to establish the roots as fast as possible. Then look at reduction of the top in the winter if desired. Hemlock establish new leaders rather quickly, so if that is in your plans then wire up a suitable candidate when reducing the top.
Good luck
 

Bonsai206

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Hemlock can be slow to establish but are very strong once adapted. Often it helps to give them several years to strengthen up before any additional work. After collection I often take three years to complete repotting and establish the tree before serious work begins!
They rely heavily on feeder roots near the surface, so it pays to reduce top roots slowly.
For wiring and bending I do all my major work in the winter. The major branches and trunks will take several seasons to set in place and may need to be rewired several times. Copper is needed for most effective results. Aluminum will not hold well enough on major branches or trunk. The branches will set better if they are worked a bit during the wiring process.
Be prepared to have a variety of copper wire sizes to properly wire a hemlock. I have used all sizes on a larger tree from #4 to #22. When you get closer to refinement the smaller sizes get the most use #16-#22.
I would leave all of the branches and foliage for the first year to establish the roots as fast as possible. Then look at reduction of the top in the winter if desired. Hemlock establish new leaders rather quickly, so if that is in your plans then wire up a suitable candidate when reducing the top.
Good luck
Thanks for the advice. I was looking at this as a 3-4 year project, some structural work starting this winter. Major branch selection and new apex will be next year. My main topic in this post was really my inexperience with the coloration of the nebari, but I love these discussions!

I've spent many years backpacking in the alpine wilderness. I've observed many younger trees that were well established and looked older than they probably are....some possibly older than they look though! Years of snow and exposure. Ultimately that what I'm looking for. My skills will need the 3-4 years of refinement as well.
 

River's Edge

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Thanks for the advice. I was looking at this as a 3-4 year project, some structural work starting this winter. Major branch selection and new apex will be next year. My main topic in this post was really my inexperience with the coloration of the nebari, but I love these discussions!

I've spent many years backpacking in the alpine wilderness. I've observed many younger trees that were well established and looked older than they probably are....some possibly older than they look though! Years of snow and exposure. Ultimately that what I'm looking for. My skills will need the 3-4 years of refinement as well.
You will find the best ones in the areas that get the highest level of snow pack during the winter! the best indicator is that most of the bases will begin with quite a bit of movement.
 

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