Patching a crack in trunk with new growth?

Lone Pine

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PXL_20210519_221906063.jpg

I've adopted a hawthorn stump, and was hoping to get any opinions whether or not to try and fill a crack in the trunk with new growth. Will this look horrible as the wood hardens and grows? or possibly split the trunk in 10 years? or just go for it?
 

62veedub

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I’ve never tried anything like this, but I would think it grow together like a graft.
I’m sure someone will chime in with good advice though!
 

sorce

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I reckon it could go either way.

Try not to freak when it looks ugly as hell, you may just have to keep waiting.

Sorce
 

Shibui

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How deep is the split? How did it get split? How far up the trunk does the split go?
I would think it should heal up all by itself, probably in about the same time it will take the shoot to fill and graft to the sides.
By the look of all the new shoots this has been recently collected. That means it will not be bonsai for quite a few years so there is still plenty of time for it to heal naturally. Or maybe you will carve part of the trunk to disguise the chopped top?

Possibly just needing to do something - anything? waiting for trees to recover from collection can be really boring!
 

penumbra

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Little to lose at this point and it would make a great experiment. But if the split is old and the wood is dry, I could see it splitting by the new growth, and in a lot less than ten years. Still, if it was mine, and I didn't have much vested in the tree, I would try it.
 

Lone Pine

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this is the crack that I wedged the shoot into.
Not that deep, so I imagine this one might actually heal
over. (which didn't even occur to me)

PXL_20210507_234145102.jpg
and this is a deeper crack on the opposite side that I was also thinking about sending me growth.
this one is almost an inch deep towards the bottom.
Probably from a chain saw. Seems more 'dead' in this area, exposed inner wood is dry.

I was thinking that I had to 'act fast' to take advantage of all the shoots on the lower part of the trunk while they were young and budding so low on the trunk.
 

Shibui

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I think you need to plan long term. The top is all dead and will never grow again. The back is dead and will never grow again. Do you have a plan to turn this stump into something resembling a tree? The only course I can see is extensive carving to make a really old damaged tree, possibly completely hollow. Probably most of the dead part will be removed, some retained as dead wood above live shoots???
I would be planning for a hollow trunk with 2 living sides, one a bit taller than the other to give some asymmetry to the design.

In any case this has only recently been collected so the only work you should do this year is planning.

Remember that most internal parts play no real part in keeping the tree alive. Water and nutrients travel up and down through the layers just under the bark so most internal wood is really just for strength and the tree can do without it.
The layer just under the bark is the cambium layer where all growth occurs. If the cambium on both sides of the split is still alive it will callus and eventually unite. A shoot filling the gap may speed the process up just a fraction by providing a living bridge with more cambium but may not actually help.
 

Tieball

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I think that what will happen is the shoot will grow thicker. The crack will split apart further with the thickening. The shoot will act as a wedge for splitting wood. The shoot will not graft itself to the trunk. The trunk will seal itself off against the intrusion of the shoot.
Or.
The shoot will exist in the crack, remain thin, and thicken above where it breaks free from the trunk restraint. The lower part of the shoot will become a root. I’ve seen shoots in cracks that simply pop-out of the restraint as the shoot begins thickening.

Nice experiment though.
 

penumbra

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I think that what will happen is the shoot will grow thicker. The crack will split apart further with the thickening. The shoot will act as a wedge for splitting wood. The shoot will not graft itself to the trunk. The trunk will seal itself off against the intrusion of the shoot.
Or.
The shoot will exist in the crack, remain thin, and thicken above where it breaks free from the trunk restraint. The lower part of the shoot will become a root. I’ve seen shoots in cracks that simply pop-out of the restraint as the shoot begins thickening.

Nice experiment though.
I think you are right.
After op updated info on overall condition revealing a worse crack on the reverse, a better experiment would be to ignore it, put it in the ground, and revisit it in a few years. Still an experiment, but one that calls on mother nature to make a decision.
 

Tieball

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I think you are right.
After op updated info on overall condition revealing a worse crack on the reverse, a better experiment would be to ignore it, put it in the ground, and revisit it in a few years. Still an experiment, but one that calls on mother nature to make a decision.
Good idea. Ignore it. I’d probably put it in a medium sized wood growing box and just ignore it...except for watering and such. No pruning. I would let it grow on its own and materialize into a nice old stump. I have an Oak stump that’s materializing as nature prefers.
 

penumbra

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Good idea. Ignore it. I’d probably put it in a medium sized wood growing box and just ignore it...except for watering and such. No pruning. I would let it grow on its own and materialize into a nice old stump. I have an Oak stump that’s materializing as nature prefers.
Grow box is a good idea and probably better suites most people. I would use a grow bag in the ground. Almost wish I had a tree that ugly now to experiment with.
 

Lone Pine

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I think you need to plan long term. The top is all dead and will never grow again. The back is dead and will never grow again. Do you have a plan to turn this stump into something resembling a tree? The only course I can see is extensive carving to make a really old damaged tree, possibly completely hollow. Probably most of the dead part will be removed, some retained as dead wood above live shoots???

I appreciate the feedback. I was thinking about this project ended up more or less looking like a tree, but perhaps I should reel back my expectations. the idea of filling the crack really came about in looking at the side with the big crack and how to deal with the dead area there. my thoughts were to route the shoots at the base there through the crack, with the idea that I could effectively bypass the dead area with a living branch emerging from the top of the crack. some sort of self tanuki. perhaps over years the thickening of the shoot would fill up part of the crack and anchor to the dead wood there. Maybe this approach would just end up looking clumsy and obvious. perhaps after some initial carving away some of the dead wood so its not so linear.
 

Lone Pine

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A couple more follow up questions:

This box seem okay for now? about eight inches deep.
PXL_20210531_194159973.jpg

As far as a general timeline - I was planning letting the stump recover this year and not doing any work on it. I assume next growing season, it would be safe to eliminate all the shoots that are not budding out from the trunk itself, and selecting candidates for branches?
 

Shibui

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Your box looks great for recovery and could hold this tree for a couple of years.
I would be pruning some of those root suckers now to concentrate more growth into the trunk where you want it.

Grafting a shoot into either of the cracks could give you some options later but still won't deal with the dead stump top. Carving will definitely be necessary. The question will be how much and which side. Knowing how slowly hawthorn respond I could not see this stump developing into an upright tree with good taper in your lifetime. I have been trying to think where there may be some good inspiration photos of carved, hollow trunk yamadori hawthorn (or other species) that may give you ideas on what could be possible. maybe someone else can add something to help?
 

Tieball

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My thoughts.
Yes. Eliminate those branches coming out of the roots....unless you find one or two of particular interest. I’m sure there are one or two of interest. Eliminate the rest. A secondary tree growing from a root near the tree may be quite interesting. Unconventionally but interesting. I’d keep a good one (or two) and see how it grows. I was think two because along with the trunk you'd have a good odd number....three altogether. You can always prune it off later if you don’t like it. It’s your tree...unconventional is interesting. It’s a stump....make the most of it. Have some unpredictable fun.

I would eliminate multiple branches growing from the same point or very close together on the trunk. I like single branches. Multiples create an unwelcome knit area not easily eliminated in the future...especially on a trunk with an unknown growth destiny. I’d select one of the multiples as a keeper and prune off the others...while taking care to not damage the connection of the keeper. As you determine the branches to remove a vision of a future presentation may develop...one of those ah-ha moments of pruning. I’d keep all the keepers for now because I wouldn’t be sure which will survive. That’s my safety net thinking.

After pruning multiples I’d leave the keepers to grow another season. And maybe another. There’s no real hurry. The keepers need to turn woody and get some heft to them. I'd grow the keepers out and then cut them back hard at a point where I start to see an interesting composition developing. The cut back will create a fork in the growth.

I tend to wait for a few seasons growth on stump projects. The composition of the tree seems to come together better as the tree adjusts to a new life.

Thats my view.
 

Tieball

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A good reference might be to Google...”bonsai trees from stumps.”
There are many examples you can learn from. Then refine your search more as you explore. I like a good stump project...long term goals. Many seasons.
 
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LittleDingus

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A big fat stump like that I'd consider making a raft. Think heavy rains and strong winds that felled the tree. Depending on how the roots look, stick some out into the air. Mound enough soil around the rest and partly up the trunk to keep it alive.

The trunk doesn't need to lay flat.
 

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