I think this is a good chinese elm, for what normally is sold in stores. With a little bit of work this can be a nice litte tree.
I am going o paste a proposed branch structure here. Thing to remember is that bonsai is a 3D hobby, yet images are 2D. So this is only an approximation.
Some basic guides:
- Each location can only have one side-branch: A trunk has one branch in a spot, and branches only split into twos. WIth this guideline you could go through the whole tree and thin out any spot were three-way splits occur.
- You want to avoid branches growing towards the trunk. Imagine all branches radiating outward, away from the trunk. Remove of reposition branches that grow inwards
- You want taper in the branches. (If you have the choice between trimming a thick or a thin continuation, normally you keep the thinner one, as long as it keeps enough material to fill the canopy locally)
- As you follow the trunk upwards, you aim for getting ever smaller branches
This is what I can see as realistic after a season of growth. All main branches are already in place so this is based on your current branch structure, but with trimming, wiring and regrowing. You might need to remove two or so branches in the top:
Oh wow, thank you for taking the time to do that. It's very helpful indeed.
I think that's what I have been struggling with. I have read / watched loads of resources and spent a long time just looking at the tree, but couldn't actually see any sort of plan, hence having absolutely no idea where to go with it.
Putting the theory into practice is the hard part isn't it!
Everyone has been so helpful, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to offer suggestions.
I have looked into local bonsai clubs as I think it would be of great benefit, but of course they have all stopped meetings until further notice. I think the sharing of ideas is really great for newbies. Hopefully one day I will be in the position of being able to help out somebody else. I'm no spring chicken though so maybe that's a bit optimistic!
OK, I've had a go because although I know it's quite early for pruning the tree had gone bonkers. It looked like a shaggy dog!
I think I am going to try to concentrate on shaping with clip n grow mostly, but I did wire 1 branch that ended to move over to the left to fill the space.
It looks a bit strange but overall I think now I have taken out some unnecessary branches I have a clearer idea of the shape.