Plain ole' C. Elm - Help with leader selection

007

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So about 7 years ago, I bought this elm off of eBay for like $20. The trunk was about 1/2" in diameter and it was ~ 8" tall. At the time I was excited about it :rolleyes:

After little to no progress in a pot, and lacking for space, I stuck the thing in the ground where it stayed untouched for about 4 years. Then I moved to LA. Right before the move, I chopped it down, dug it up and potted it, hoping for the best. Well, as a good elm should, it handled it like a champ and now, 1 year later this is where I am at.

When I got to LA, there was nothing . . . a few weeks later I got a flush of growth and let it go untouched. This past spring, I selected a few of the top branches to retain and pruned out the rest. Now, as I start year 2 with this tree post-chop, I am starting to think about leader selection. I have two primary choices and would like some input.

There are three photos. One which show's the tree from the front (this much I am sure of). The two potential leaders are on the right side. One is growing directly from the chop and straight up. The second option is just below the first, from the side of the trunk. The two other photos show the potential leaders from the sides so you can get a better idea of what I am looking at.

Which would you choose and why? I plan to refine the chop next spring based on the selected leader and get rid of everything else to focus the energy on the next section of trunk. For a $20 eBay tree, I think this tree has a great start to it. The nebari is now about 6" across and the trunk at the chop is about 3"

Edit: Photo 2 show's the tree from the RIGHT side. Photo 3 show's the tree from the LEFT side, which is where the next chop will angle towards. As you can see in the last pic, there's a large scar from the previous trimming.
 

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GerhardG

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007,

In 2 years time I should have 2 trees similar to that, so I'll have a go......:D

From the photos it looks like there's only one leader with an acceptable angle to the trunk, I would cut the chop at an angle suitable to that leader.

I guess it all depends on what style you envision for this tree, if you go for a broom style you would not cut antything.:D
 

bonsai barry

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If it were mine, I would use the leader near the front of the tree, in order to hide the chop a bit. You're wise to choose a leader and cut the other branches off, otherwise it's possible to get a swelling at that point in the trunk which will lead to inverse taper.

Great start, good luck.
 

007

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If it were mine, I would use the leader near the front of the tree, in order to hide the chop a bit. You're wise to choose a leader and cut the other branches off, otherwise it's possible to get a swelling at that point in the trunk which will lead to inverse taper.

Great start, good luck.
I thought about that one too because it angles in the direction that I was really hoping for, but I eliminated it as an option because of how far it sticks out . . . its sorta an "eye poker". In the last photo, you can see just how far it juts out from the trunk. I don't know how it would fare in the long run though . . . maybe it would integrate?
 
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my personal opinion is that when in doubt, go with the one that is going to give you the most character...
also, if one is able??? (don't know how thick the branches are) you could bend down a branch or two, rather than cutting off...
 

007

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my personal opinion is that when in doubt, go with the one that is going to give you the most character...
also, if one is able??? (don't know how thick the branches are) you could bend down a branch or two, rather than cutting off...
Unfortunately, they are now to thick to bend into branches. And even if I could, by the time the trunk were done the branch would be too thick. However, the leader that is directly at the top of the cut could be wired across so that it angles back in the opposite direction of the current trunk line . . . hmm, this might actually be the solution. Not only would it give me the directional growth I was hoping for, but by growing from the outside in, it might help the trunk chop heal over quicker.

catfish chapstick said:
leave two leaders. select in the future.
I thought about this too, but I really want to minimize scarring and already have a few big ones to deal with. I'd rather make a selection and commit.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Not only would it give me the directional growth I was hoping for, but by growing from the outside in, it might help the trunk chop heal over quicker.
I think this might be the best option -- and you have a good point about healing over faster by selecting this particular branch.

Nice tree, by the way.
 

007

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I just checked out that thread and ultimately, I started off wanting (and still do) a broom style tree. But with only one leader sprouting from the chop, it sorta will make for a poor broom!

Unless I cut all the others off and re-score the chop to try and promote more growth. Anyone think that might work? Sure the existing leader would be a bit bigger in diameter but if I can get anything to sprout, this is easily corrected (with time of course).

I checked the flex in the leader coming from the chop and its too think to bend back over the chop.
 
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if it was me I would cut all the branches except for the one on the far right of your first pic... I would then cut the main trunk at an angle, and then bend down branches further up as the grow.
If you cut all of the branches off and start over, you will probally end up with the same situation when it grows back...
 
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