Shohin Dawn Redwood

Jluke33

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Anyone have examples for inspiration? Another thread I found said they are tough to keep at shohin size, but I don’t have a lot of trees and am new, so I’m wondering if the fast growth paired with a smaller end goal will help me practice technique more quickly. Plus I have this nice pot (the one on top) that I think it would look pretty in come spring.
 

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Jluke33

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pot stage comes after most of the wanted taper and nebari is built
Gotcha, so in this case how would you recommend training the roots on this guy come spring? the pot it's currently in is about 6 inches tall and theres a couple of large feeder roots that go all the way to the bottom of the pot. I was thinking of reducing and cleaning up the root ball to start developing a shallower root base and better nebari and just using the nicer pot bc i have it and no trees to put in it. This is where my noobness comes in. is it, 1. get trunk and taper to desired size/scale and then worry about roots? or repot into shallower training container after pruning and raking roots before those two steps?
 

Forsoothe!

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I had one for a long time, 10+ years. They don't lend themselves to "small" with long internodes and clusters of buds. They are after all compound leaf clusters in form, if not technically compound. While they bud literally everywhere, waiting for them bud in-between branches so you can build a spiral staircase is disappointingly long and fruitless. They bud like crazy at internodes and not at all in the empty internodes, typical of wagon-wheel branching.
 

Rivian

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I recommend working on the roots before the root tips start growing in spring, get them shallow and radial but leave at least a glass full of feeder roots. Maybe look up some bonsai rootwork videos on youtube to get a feeling for it.
Nebari is the hardest to change and should generally be worked on first. When I go looking for wild plants to dig up the first thing I do is look for rough taper from afar and then immediately check the nebari when close.
After you have worked the roots in spring, which you should do every or every second year for the first few years, put it in the ground and let it get thick. Chop the top at a similar rate. Utilize sacrificial branches when possible.
If field growing isnt possible a large shallow container will do.

Since youre a beginner I recommend treating your plants nicely until you have rooted layers or cuttings as backup, then you can test the plants limits more and have something to fall back on when the inevitable happens.

I killed my first dawn redwood with a summer chop. Now I bought 5 replacements that will go in the field in spring.
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Totally concur with the above advices. I’ve a Dawn Redwood and 3 Coastal and they are are really fast growers. Shohin IMO would be a challenge. Yet there are some

examples I’ve seen of smaller medium size Dawns. These do require a lot of attention to keep them that small!

In fact if you really like to pinch back trees and shouldn’t, get a dawn or coastal so you can divert your energy towards them instead!

Good luck
DSD sends
 

Adair M

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Shohin, I agree, would be tough to do. Shohin is defined as 8 inches and under. Now, you can make some relatively small dawn redwood bonsai. This forest is only 24 inches above the pot:

BD49F54B-D310-41A8-A85C-0A4E9591BC4E.jpeg

A couple of the smaller trees in the forest are only about 12 to 14 inches.
 

Jluke33

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I had one for a long time, 10+ years. They don't lend themselves to "small" with long internodes and clusters of buds. They are after all compound leaf clusters in form, if not technically compound. While they bud literally everywhere, waiting for them bud in-between branches so you can build a spiral staircase is disappointingly long and fruitless. They bud like crazy at internodes and not at all in the empty internodes, typical of wagon-wheel branching.
gotcha so, it's less about the fact that they grow fast and more about where they bud. so maybe I'll plant in ground on a plate and let it get a little bigger.
I recommend working on the roots before the root tips start growing in spring, get them shallow and radial but leave at least a glass full of feeder roots. Maybe look up some bonsai rootwork videos on youtube to get a feeling for it.
Nebari is the hardest to change and should generally be worked on first. When I go looking for wild plants to dig up the first thing I do is look for rough taper from afar and then immediately check the nebari when close.
After you have worked the roots in spring, which you should do every or every second year for the first few years, put it in the ground and let it get thick. Chop the top at a similar rate. Utilize sacrificial branches when possible.
If field growing isnt possible a large shallow container will do.

Since youre a beginner I recommend treating your plants nicely until you have rooted layers or cuttings as backup, then you can test the plants limits more and have something to fall back on when the inevitable happens.

I killed my first dawn redwood with a summer chop. Now I bought 5 replacements that will go in the field in spring.
Iwill definitely do this. move from pot to ground (possible planted on a plate) after doing light root work to get them a little shallower and untangled. and then I'll just let it grow a bit bigger! Now to figure out what to do with this little pot! it's so pretty and makes a good desk ornament for now haha.
 

Jluke33

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Shohin, I agree, would be tough to do. Shohin is defined as 8 inches and under. Now, you can make some relatively small dawn redwood bonsai. This forest is only 24 inches above the pot:

View attachment 349080

A couple of the smaller trees in the forest are only about 12 to 14 inches.
wow looks great! would love to build a forest at some point.
 

lieuz

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Sorry for hijacking this thread for a sec, @Adair M How long do you think it takes for you to develop those fronds into branches? I have a cutting that I took from a former dawn redwood and it's currently just growing wildly in a big planter and it's getting to the point after 6 and a half years where I'm finally happy with the height and girth. I'm ready to work with it.
 

Jluke33

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Sorry for hijacking this thread for a sec, @Adair M How long do you think it takes for you to develop those fronds into branches? I have a cutting that I took from a former dawn redwood and it's currently just growing wildly in a big planter and it's getting to the point after 6 and a half years where I'm finally happy with the height and girth. I'm ready to work with it.
any or all hijacking is welcome. I'm a sponge at the moment and any knowledge related to tree species i already have is welcome!
 

Adair M

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Sorry for hijacking this thread for a sec, @Adair M How long do you think it takes for you to develop those fronds into branches? I have a cutting that I took from a former dawn redwood and it's currently just growing wildly in a big planter and it's getting to the point after 6 and a half years where I'm finally happy with the height and girth. I'm ready to work with it.
Each frond is just a leaf. There’s a bud at the base of every frond, that can become a new stem. Or, like ginkgo, it might just produce a leaf there. It has a habit of creating tons of buds at the crotches. Which can cause unsightly bulges and areas of reverse taper. You have to be diligent to remove these so that the tree doesn’t depend on them. It can preference those crotch buds and stuff off the branches! Removing the excess buds will allow you to better direct the growth in the manner you desire.

My little forest is about 15 years old. I have only owned it for a little more than a year, so I’m still learning the species. My forest had been somewhat neglected at the time I purchased it, so a lot of what I’m doing is remedial work.
 

lieuz

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Each frond is just a leaf. There’s a bud at the base of every frond, that can become a new stem. Or, like ginkgo, it might just produce a leaf there. It has a habit of creating tons of buds at the crotches. Which can cause unsightly bulges and areas of reverse taper. You have to be diligent to remove these so that the tree doesn’t depend on them. It can preference those crotch buds and stuff off the branches! Removing the excess buds will allow you to better direct the growth in the manner you desire.

My little forest is about 15 years old. I have only owned it for a little more than a year, so I’m still learning the species. My forest had been somewhat neglected at the time I purchased it, so a lot of what I’m doing is remedial work.
I've noticed that if I prune the frond back (on a previous dawn redwood), the severed frond continues to grow but will ultimately fall off in fall. The axillary bud where I severed the frond will regrow back into the same frond next spring (no ramification). By leaving it alone to grow wildly, I noticed if left unchecked the frond matures by changing colors and also forms buds form either in the middle of the frond or at the tips of the frond. Because I'm just observing in passing and just letting it go wild, I haven't worked much with the species other than just let it grow. I was wondering in your experience if you've noticed the time it takes to have those buds start to emerge so that they can be pruned back for ramification?

You're right about those whorls, they are just so unsightly.
 

Adair M

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I've noticed that if I prune the frond back (on a previous dawn redwood), the severed frond continues to grow but will ultimately fall off in fall. The axillary bud where I severed the frond will regrow back into the same frond next spring (no ramification). By leaving it alone to grow wildly, I noticed if left unchecked the frond matures by changing colors and also forms buds form either in the middle of the frond or at the tips of the frond. Because I'm just observing in passing and just letting it go wild, I haven't worked much with the species other than just let it grow. I was wondering in your experience if you've noticed the time it takes to have those buds start to emerge so that they can be pruned back for ramification?

You're right about those whorls, they are just so unsightly.
I have not pinched an individual frond (leaf). My approach is to let grow, cut back. Let grow, cut back.

I do remove excess buds from where I don’t want them.

But, like I said, this species is relatively new for me, so I’m still learning.

I’ve noticed that some areas on the trees will produce tons of buds, others, not so much. I haven’t really studied it to try to discern a pattern to this behavior, but I have noticed that the back budding is inconsistent.

(I have this little forest to provide a bit of variety on my bench. It’s not my primary interest... pines are. I’m sure there are others on this forum who are far more versed in the nuances of growing dawn redwood than I.)
 

lieuz

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I have not pinched an individual frond (leaf). My approach is to let grow, cut back. Let grow, cut back.

I do remove excess buds from where I don’t want them.

But, like I said, this species is relatively new for me, so I’m still learning.

I’ve noticed that some areas on the trees will produce tons of buds, others, not so much. I haven’t really studied it to try to discern a pattern to this behavior, but I have noticed that the back budding is inconsistent.

(I have this little forest to provide a bit of variety on my bench. It’s not my primary interest... pines are. I’m sure there are others on this forum who are far more versed in the nuances of growing dawn redwood than I.)
Any insight is great and I thank you for it! I agree, the back budding seems like a complete chance.
 

LittleDingus

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If you truly want to stay shohin size, I'd consider cutting all branches off every fall and let new ones form each year. Or, if you like the silhouette prune the branches at bud break. Leave one of the buds that people are complaining about for larger trees and you should get an in scale branch in a week or two. At shohin size, and the rate these guys grow, it will be difficult to keep branches in scale otherwise. You'll likely be in a constant battle of fighting new leaders too as they are pretty apical dominant...they want to be tall trees!

Also, not all the back buds grow out. If they are shaded, they tend to stay dormant.

One of my "covid sanity projects" is to grow a shohin sized dawn redwood forest from seed :)


I've been posting monthly updates just for kicks to watch this silly little thing grow! I've done everything "wrong": planted seeds in winter, trees live 100% indoors, yadda, yadda, but dawn redwoods are very maleable and it keeps me entertained :D It's getting big enough already that I'll need to start pruning branches to keep it in scale!

It's a silly project, but I think it will illustrate what others have said...it's a shaggy tree to keep in scale at shonin size.

But give them space and water and they can dwarf your tree in 2 years, easy. So they can be a quick turnaround to try again if you screw something up ;)
 

LittleDingus

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I'm still waiting to see if I killed this one or not. We went out of town to visit grandkids and it didn't get watered properly while we were gone :( This planting plus one other one were both all dried up when we got back. It was too late in the year to regrow new foliage so I'm hoping they just went dormant and stayed there. The trunks still look/feel healthy so we'll see.

But this is 2 years from seed.

20210114_180610.jpg

The tallest tree is 18". There are enough leaves still on it to give an impression of how shaggy they look at this size.

The seeds were germinated in peat pots then moved directly into the hollowed out cypress knee after a few months.

20190526_131641.jpg

And here they are last year just after going dormant.

20200306_115348.jpg

I repotted in the spring to break up the stupid triangle! Unfortunately, I can't find a picture of it in leaf from this year.


Nowhere near as nice as Adair's but maybe it will give you a little more of an idea about what to expect at the small size.

One last comment, my feeling is you can bend the usuall 1:6-1:10 trunk thickness to height ratio on these. While only half the size of their brethren they can still reach 150' plus...emphasizing the height isn't necessarily a bad thing...again, my opinion.
 

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