movement in a Virginia Pine

bwaynef

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Here's a virginia pine I recently brought home with me. Its health has improved drastically this year (having been collected 2-3 years ago) but I'll wait til I see evidence that its thoroughly happy before I work on it. Until then its got time to speak to me. I moved it from a pretty shady spot into a rather exposed location, though right now its getting filtered sun during the hottest part of the day.

What do you think?
 

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bwaynef

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The last 3.
 

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Ashbarns

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Wayne you would have to be a happy camper landing a catch such as this. Would it be possible to give the dimensions and your preferred front at some stage. If this were my tree I would introduce more kinks in the trunk and end up with a nice literati in my collection. A fine example of having good material to work with.

Ash
 

Graydon

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Quick - get me some rebar, #4 and #6 copper, a ton of raffia and a ratchet strap.

What a nice truck to work on - I like it very much. I have been reading a book (well looking at the photos as it's in Japanese) on Japanese red pine and one of the articles shows a tree much like this one being bent all over the place. The goal seemed to me to be to accentuate the abrupt directional changes in the trunk similar to what you have.

I don't know if you are hip to buying books but I got this one at Dallas Bonsai Gardens, it was inexpensive and chock full of great photos. Well worth the cost for the inspiration alone. PM me if you want more info.

Nice stuff. Thanks for posting. Can I have it?
 

bwaynef

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I definitely think this one will be literati. I have some #6 Cu, and either #8 or #4...I don't recall specifically. I think if I can get a sharp bend in the lowest 2" of the trunk, the rest can be compacted as theres already scads of movement above the lowest portion of the trunk.

I need to do a little research on the bending that I need to do. These bends need to be pretty angular so just wiring isn't going to do the job I don't think.

As far as bonsai goes, this tree doesn't have a lot of training right now, but it has the most potential that I've seen in raw stock in a long while.

Thanks for taking the time.
 

GregC

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Bending.

Here's an article about notching branches in order to bend them.

http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATBendingThickBranchesTwo.htm

I might be hesitant to do this on the first couple of inches of the trunk but could be more useful the further up you go. Of course my fears could be unfounded since I've never done it.

Also BT II also has some information about notching to bend
 

bwaynef

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This trees about 30" tall, maybe a tad taller at the moment. It will end up a little over 2' I 'spect.

I'm mostly concerned right now with HOW to get the trunk all bent up. :) The first couple (6) inches are where I think this trunk really needs some drama and movement. Without that I don't know if it'll ever harmonize with the rest of the trunk.

Reportedly theres a Colin Lewis method thats foolproof, but I'm waiting to get my fingers on the details of that. I'll study the link provided and see if I can scrounge a copy of BT2.

Anyone else have any ideas/techniques/words of wisdom?


Thanks for the replies (and the welcome to bnut even),
wf
 

Tachigi

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Wayne, this is a rough virt of a possibility. I did this virt so as to deal with making the tree more compact without having to do wedge cuts. If bends are not to radical. You can do a nice styling without putting your tree in harms way. If you just have to do the hard kink thing then see Colin Lewis's article in the next post.
 

Tachigi

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Here it is Wayne the article by Colin Lewis I promised.

Making sharp bends in trunks and heavy branches

This is without doubt the scariest technique I have ever used! You'd think the tree would surely die after this onslaught, but I can safely say that I have used this technique many times and I have never lost a tree yet as a result.

Best species are pines (not so much white pine), spruce, chamaecyparis, larch, ficus, bald cypress.... Not advisable on junipers because of their reluctance to heal. Deciduous species tend to be too brittle, although this has been successfully done (with difficulty) on hawthorn, trident maple and English elm.

Best time to do this is while the tree is vigorously growing and the cambium activity is at its maximum - spring to early summer... like NOW!

Decide where you want the bend, and cut a narrow wedge out of the trunk or branch with a very sharp, fine saw. Make the wedge just over half way through. You read it right - just over half way through! Keep the wedge fairly narrow - around thirty degrees. (I have cut much wider wedges, but the risk of damage increases dramatically, and not all species are flexible enough to permit that much damage.)

NB: Make the wedge symmetrical, so both sides are the same angle and size, otherwise they will not meet perfectly when the gap is closed.


See first picture​


Use guy wires to bend the trunk or branch until the two two sides of the wedge cut are pressed tightly together - very tightly. Important: plan carefully the angles and anchoring points of the guy wires so the angle of tension is directly perpendicular to the wedge, otherwise it will no close accurately.


Cover the cut with a sliver of cut paste (not the stuff in a tube - that'll stain the bark) and likewise any splits that have appeared on the outside of the bend, where the tissues have been stretched.

The grafting process will begin almost immediately, and should be completed by the end of the season. However, avoid the temptation to "test" the graft!! Even if it has grafted, the tensions in the wood can be enough to rip it open again when the guys are released. Grit your teeth and wait one more season to be safe.

See picture 2​


The scots pine illustrated had a further seven wedges cut on different sides of the trunk so it could be compressed into a shape like curly a pig's tail. Why? Well, it's now in the ground, and when the three-quarter-inch trunk has expanded to two inches, it's going to be a stunning little piece!

See picture 3​

This is a great technique - have fun
 
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bwaynef

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I was kinda thinking something more along the lines of this: (my apologies for the virt, but you get the idea)


(Picture lost in crash and I can't find it to re-upload at the moment.)
 
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Graydon

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I think you have a nice tree here, but I think you are missing an opportunity to be more creative. Your virt simply changes a planting angle and reduces the top a bit. Tom's does some bends at the top and reduces the top a bit. Very literati looking which is fine, but there is another tree in there.

I see major bends down low, also at the first natural wiggle, and also several in the upper third of the top. I see a very compact tree with tons of movement. I suck at virts but may get out a pen and paper and do a couple of sketches, scan them and upload them this evening.
 

bwaynef

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actually, the critical (1st) bend in the virt I introduced ...and the one I'm most concerned with.
 

Graydon

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actually, the critical (1st) bend in the virt I introduced ...and the one I'm most concerned with.

I see it now, that should be a piece of cake to bend if done properly. Actually all of the bends you indicated in the virt would be easy with another pair of hands.

The notching method that Tom outlined works very well. I have done it several times and will be doing it again soon. The key (at least in my eyes) was a very sharp knife to clean up after the cuts and then patiently getting as much cambium contact when bending. The healing was remarkably fast with vigorous trees. The first one I did is nearly invisible after a year with the healing and scar tissue.

Keep us posted, that is a very sweet tree.
 

Jay Wilson

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I've been admiring this tree for a few days now. Really nice... and healthy too. Thanks for sharing.

The notching method that Tom outlined works very well. I have done it several times and will be doing it again soon.

When you do it, how about getting some pics and show us how it's done.
Thanks,


Jay
 

bwaynef

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Sorry its taken me almost a week to reply. Thanks for the comment. Its seeming happier in a much sunnier location than it was ...in one of its previous lives. I've done nothing new with it other than study it. I'll update this thread when something jumps out at me, or I decide its healthy enough to start bending.
 

bwaynef

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Just an update: a "slight" change from the virt.



***(pictures restored after the crash)***
 

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I see that I am too late. I like the upright bunjin much better than other suggestions. The drastic bends and single branch bunjin I see at IBC and other places look very artificial to me. This one could have been left as is, with the added kink you showed in your virt, and the top style without reducing much of anything to give a great balancing branch.

I look forward to seeing where you go with this.
 

ovation22

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I disagree with you here, Chris. I like the direction Wayne is going with this tree (or, I think he's going). My preference is for more movement instead of most plain of "literati", a style that imo is overdone or often attempted when at a loss of what to do. But, as I said, that is my preference.

Well done, Wayne.


Take care.
 

bwaynef

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Chris, John: thanks for your input. I'll admit that I was surprised with the outcome of this recent styling. I believe that the upright is still a possibility, though I'm now interested to see how the foliage pans out from this angle before I revisit the upright.

A side note. MAN are these things flexible. I just hope the coach tape (thanks Grampz) doesn't remove the well-plated bark when it comes off.
 

bwaynef

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I was just checking to see if these pics got lost (and they were so I restored as many as I could find).

I spoke to someone much more knowledgable than I, and I was categorically implored not to notch this tree for fear of the scarring that surely will result. I'm not necessarily swayed but what are your thoughts with regard to scarring as a result of notching?


New buds are popping on this thing ...and have been for about 3 weeks. I'd rather it not spend the energy but I don't guess I'll stop it right now. The growth might have enough time to harden off before it gets too cold. Its color is readily improving as well.
 

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