Nice rough piece of material. It looks like this will offer plenty of opportunity to practice a variety of more advanced techniques. (the kind I've only read about) For you experienced folk, maybe you could explain some approaches you would take. For instance, which branches that we see have a possibility of being bent with proper technique. I know you can hollow out the heart wood, but how big a branch can this be used on. (i think i've heard of a couple different methods of this, channel and "inverse cone"???) And of course, you have to keep the species in mind. Well, I think I'm rambling, so if you know what I mean, I'm sure a lot of us are wondering, thanks for the help.
Most of all, have fun with this one and good luck.
I'm not REAL experienced compared to some others, but probably more so than not, so I'll say a bit.
It's always hard for me to render an opinion about a tree seen only in photos, of course, even under the best of circumstances, and especially with a wild tree. Typically, I kind of live with a tree for quite some time, sometimes years, sort of formally and informally studying it over and over again before I make a committed styling decision. This is especially true on a fine old piece of material like this one.
Unlike, say, Ponderosa pines, the trunk and thick branches on old junipers are seldom flexible enough for me to consider bending - even with benders, rafia and rebar, hollowing out the heartwood, etc. Others here may be more bold, however.
These trees are often impressive enough to me just as they are, such that I find it easy to work with what they present without such maneuvers. Removing branches and foliage that doesn't fit, developing new foliage in areas where it is thin, bending branches that can be reasonably bent - that's about all I attempt, except to accentuate the deadwood which often features so prominently.
It's probably no mystery that I'm a big fan of Dan Robinson's "Focal Point Bonsai Design", in which a deadwood feature, espcially a prominent one found down near the base - either natural of created - is so often chosen as the "focal point" on a tree like this one. The styling of the rest of the tree is then chosen to frame and accentuate that focal point, such that decisions about trimming and branch/foliage placement become more logical.
This tree has a very interesting feature of exactly this sort down at the basal crotch. It is visually striking, and tells something of the tree's age and history. It is the most obvious feature that could make this tree fascinating. It would, most likely, be my focal point. I'd look at it and study it over and over again, and over time make some decisions about how the remainder of the tree could be manipulated to draw the eye to that feature, how the branches and foliage could be designed to frame, point to, or accentuate that feature.
That's how I'd approach it.
It's a nice piece of material. Good luck!
Its really difficult to give an opinion on whether or not to remove a branch without a picture of the entire tree at multiple angles. The closeup shots are nice but for advice on styling the whole tree needs to be seen.
Also, if this tree is new to you, maybe it is best to let this tree settle in to its new location before you do anything. You don't want to regret removing something down the road that could have been used in the design.
my bad - I wasn't explicit enough...
The branch has to go - so it's either going in the trash or it gets layered. I'm just wondering if the branch itself is worth layering and how hard it is to do on a RMJ
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