My "best" tree...critique as you see fitting

Cadillactaste

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Fine, everyone here wants to see trees, post your best tree, and self critique it. I do this with every tree I pick up in my backyard and begin pruning. I have a keeper pile and a seller pile. Be honest and put your tree out there and critique the thing like its some guy you don't even know and can hide behind that cool screen name you have here. Explain what it is you see good and what you see bad, what you can fix and what is unfixable. If this was your tree would you continue spending money on it or would you tell the guy to get better material? You self diagnose your own stuff. This exercise will scare the Hell out of you. It will force to to come to realizations that you may not be ready to handle yet. I want to see just how well some of you handle the attacks good or bad on your own stuff. It's not fun being real with yourself.
Well, Al @Bananaman ... This is what I consider my closest finished tree. Still has wire on it to correct a root that was not in line with the rest. I need to allow the nub to die so I can remove it flush with trunk on the left of the trunk...and find a wider, and slightly shallower pot. (Are the pot combo also up for debate?)

My Neagari Satsuki Azalea
image.jpg

I have five trees that I feel are almost there...but not quite. So I list this one. My plan B...when I snapped the left lower branch off trying to lower it some. But overall...I think it's a nice piece. But it's all about the roots...could they be taller...sure. But then it wouldn't fit where I wished it to go on my bench.
 
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jeanluc83

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@Cadillactaste That is a really nice tree!

Two things stick out to me. I feel there is a little too much negative space on the left side. A cascading branch might be a good option to full the space.

The second is the pot. It is a great pot but I think it is a bit over powering for the tree. Something a little more delicate wouldfit the tree better.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Well, Al @Bananaman ... This is what I consider my closest finished tree. Still has wire on it to correct a root that was not in line with the rest. I need to allow the nub to die so I can remove it flush with trunk on the left of the trunk...and find a wider, and slightly shallower pot. (Are the pot combo also up for debate?)

My Neagari Satsuki Azalea
View attachment 204071

I have five trees that I feel are almost there...but not quite. So I list this one. My plan B...when I snapped the left lower branch off trying to lower it some. But overall...I think it's a nice piece. But it's all about the roots...could they be taller...sure. But then it wouldn't fit where I wished it to go on my bench.
I sense a lack of commitment with this tree.
Pot is too heavy for the neagari style. Color doesn’t compliment or contrast well with the bark if the exposed roots. Size is ok, but it is visually far too heavy; thick walls and heavy pitted glaze conflicts with the delicate feeling conveyed by the exposed roots and small leaves. This is not a rugged tree, and should not be in a rugged pot.

The balance of the entire composition is off. Everything leans to the right and the crown is left of centered over the pot. If it wants to lean right, center the apex over the right rim. If you want to center the apex, center the planting, and add a counterbalancing branch on the left. Again, commit to something, is it going right, or is it centered? I understand you broke a left branch, but you submitted this for a critique as it sits, and this is a problem. It may have a better front if the whole thing was rotated counter-clockwise 30 degrees.

The neagari needs attention. Continue to scrub the lowest part and clear away old soil, moss and dead roots so it begins to match the tone of the upper parts. I would pull in that wired root even more if you are wanting to embrace the crescent shape the tree has overall.

Foliage is healthy, but it is unbalanced and you will have horticultural problems if you cannot balance the strength. Interior leaves are small, and are being shaded out by a few runaway shoots that will sap strength and eventually leave you with a few strong branches. Commit to a profile, and prune it properly.

Currently, it has no order and no defined pads. Proper pruning can help this, and then you’re going to have to prune back some of the heavy branches wire some of the thinner ones. The lowest right branch has a runner that points straight up and is thickening. Get control of it, or remove it. The lowest right tuft fills in a space that could be dramatic negative space, and should be moved back and to the right to create a pad with the tuft already back there.

Get rid of the luggage tag. You know what it is, and Bonsai don’t need to be adorned with these trinkets. Pot properly so you don’t have exposed wires holding the tree in place. That is distracting and suggests a rookie effort. You’ve been doing this too long to show anchor wires.
 

Cadillactaste

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@Cadillactaste That is a really nice tree!

Two things stick out to me. I feel there is a little too much negative space on the left side. A cascading branch might be a good option to full the space.

The second is the pot. It is a great pot but I think it is a bit over powering for the tree. Something a little more delicate wouldfit the tree better.
That was what I was trying to do with the branch that snapped. Good idea of growing one out at a later date. Yes, pot was chosen poorly. For it was commissioned by Victor Harris. His vision for the tree. I felt needed at least once to set roots in for homage.
 

Cadillactaste

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I sense a lack of commitment with this tree.
Pot is too heavy for the neagari style. Color doesn’t compliment or contrast well with the bark if the exposed roots. Size is ok, but it is visually far too heavy; thick walls and heavy pitted glaze conflicts with the delicate feeling conveyed by the exposed roots and small leaves. This is not a rugged tree, and should not be in a rugged pot.

The balance of the entire composition is off. Everything leans to the right and the crown is left of centered over the pot. If it wants to lean right, center the apex over the right rim. If you want to center the apex, center the planting, and add a counterbalancing branch on the left. Again, commit to something, is it going right, or is it centered? I understand you broke a left branch, but you submitted this for a critique as it sits, and this is a problem. It may have a better front if the whole thing was rotated counter-clockwise 30 degrees.

The neagari needs attention. Continue to scrub the lowest part and clear away old soil, moss and dead roots so it begins to match the tone of the upper parts. I would pull in that wired root even more if you are wanting to embrace the crescent shape the tree has overall.

Foliage is healthy, but it is unbalanced and you will have horticultural problems if you cannot balance the strength. Interior leaves are small, and are being shaded out by a few runaway shoots that will sap strength and eventually leave you with a few strong branches. Commit to a profile, and prune it properly.

Currently, it has no order and no defined pads. Proper pruning can help this, and then you’re going to have to prune back some of the heavy branches wire some of the thinner ones. The lowest right branch has a runner that points straight up and is thickening. Get control of it, or remove it. The lowest right tuft fills in a space that could be dramatic negative space, and should be moved back and to the right to create a pad with the tuft already back there.

Get rid of the luggage tag. You know what it is, and Bonsai don’t need to be adorned with these trinkets. Pot properly so you don’t have exposed wires holding the tree in place. That is distracting and suggests a rookie effort. You’ve been doing this too long to show anchor wires.
Good points...

image.jpg
I had thinned it. Following Adair's selection of removal. So it needs continual thinning through out the growing period then? I know Scott said at some point you don't wish to thin or you risk blooms.


Yes, poorly chosen pot. You know the history with it. So I won't repeat myself. Looking for a better selections.

The runner as you call it has much movement. Maybe it needs turned a bit to show it off. It's one of the things I like about the tree.

That is not an anchor wire. I tubed the wire to protect the root. Which was as far as I could bring it in.
Look...no noticeable wire during bloom. Notice the root...
image.jpg

I find the tag quirky...so I leave it. Sorry it bugs you. It's a metal tag...I removed the plastic tag with the English name and photo of bloom though.

As to defined pads...That is something I will chew over. I don't have a strong preference for them. I guess it's seeing many done poorly possibly?
 

M. Frary

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you risk blooms
Do you want a flowering Bush or a bonsai.
Some azaleas look great without blooms.
I believe with bonsai blooms should be a secondary consideration. If you get them fine as long as it looks like a bonsai.
 

Cadillactaste

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Do you want a flowering Bush or a bonsai.
Some azaleas look great without blooms.
I believe with bonsai blooms should be a secondary consideration. If you get them fine as long as it looks like a bonsai.
Honestly...Blooms are short lived. But a bonus when in bloom. I would hope all trees have an inner strength to carry itself out of bloom. I want a happy middle ground. I did thin this extremely hard in the spring. My first attempt at thinning was an armature joke. Found in a thread somewhere here. Adair gave me some sound direction without making me feel foolish at my first attempt.

I am still mulling over bringing down a cascade branch from above and growing it out...in the meantime...@Brian Van Fleet you mention planting it more to the right at next planting. As it sits now. Would you suggest that a good measure to do while growing out the cascade branch since it will be years in the undertaking? I have no intentions of repotting next spring. But waiting the two years they state one should offer azaleas between repot. I am not about rushing a pot any longer as I was early on.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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No need to defend your tree against the critique. It was based on what I see, not your rationale for why I see it. I really have no interest in the “why”. That is the harsh beauty of the critique. Now, it’s yours to have and do with as you may.
 

Cadillactaste

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No need to defend your tree against the critique. It was based on what I see, not your rationale for why I see it. I really have no interest in the “why”. That is the harsh beauty of the critique. Now, it’s yours to have and do with as you may.
Well...it will get a wider pot...and thanks to your guidance planted to the right of the pot for balance. I appreciate that clarity.

I mentioned my tree is potted and wired correctly. I felt justified in explaining your assumption of it not being so. So...a critique one isn't allowed to correct critique. Gotcha...don't know the rules. Now I do.
 

Adair M

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Darlene, as you found out, azaleas are very brittle. You really can’t “move” old branches. They snap.

Young twigs, on the other hand, can be wired!

If you look at the image after you thinned it out, you see lots of terminal twigs growing straight up, or nearly so. But they were thin and supple at that time. That was the time to have wired them out into flat pads. Oh, I know that will look somewhat artificial. For a month! Then, all the new growth comes in and softens the look. The new growth will grow back upright again. About 6 weeks after you wire it, it’s time to take the wire off. It will have lignified.

What you will have then is a horizontal scaffolding of twigs with new foliage above. A pad.

Remember, we’re doing bonsai, which is supposed to be a tree. Azalea are naturally bushes. We have to do things to make them look like trees. Creating pads is one way we do that.

All of BVF’s comments are on point.
 

Tieball

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Nice! I like what you’re doing....and your thinking behind your moves.

I’d probably try yo move that left side root, the one that hangs out, more toward the tree. To me it resembles a handle and stops my eye movement. It needs to join the rest of the roots in supporting the beautiful image you’ve developed.

Very attractive root development and exposure.
 

Cadillactaste

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Nice! I like what you’re doing....and your thinking behind your moves.

I’d probably try yo move that left side root, the one that hangs out, more toward the tree. To me it resembles a handle and stops my eye movement. It needs to join the rest of the roots in supporting the beautiful image you’ve developed.

Very attractive root development and exposure.
Thanks! ?
? ... I have brought it in the left root. The post above yours shows it now. There is no moving it more. Adair suggested it back on a different thread and I took his advice. Which is why I have the tubing on the wire that is forcing the root into place to protect from scaring. Agree it needed done. Thanks.
 

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