Styling help for Coastal Redwood (from Shimon guys at Mendocino Coast Bonsai)

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
Hi everyone! I was recently lucky enough to pick up a collected redwood from the Mendocino Coast Bonsai guys (Bob, specifically) at the REBS 2018 show. It is the first unstyled redwood I've purchased, and it is a doozy. I was hoping everyone would provide their opinions on what the right direction would be just in case I was missing some awesome opportunity/direction.

Many of the branches obviously need to be reduced in length, but I am waiting to do that until the right time of year (winter). I also have not finished wiring/positioning much of the apex because I'm unsure where to go. I'm hoping people can help provide input on some of the more major structural decisions.

First decision is obviously the front, of which there are 2 obvious choices (that I flip-flop on constantly) :

A) Exposed deadwood
FrontA.jpg
FrontA_foliage.jpg

B) Bark side
FrontB.jpg
FrontB_base.jpg


For Front A, the exposed deadwood is an obvious appealing feature that you would want to show off, but because all the foliage is originating from the top of the tree, it has some awkward spots that I am unsure how to deal with. There is a 'knob' growing outward near the apex with many branches growing off it that I'm unsure how to handle given that it is coming straight outward. Part of me thinks simply cutting it off could be a solution, but maybe someone else has a better idea?
FrontA_top.jpgFrontA_apex.jpg

Front B has branch positions that are easier to manage (at least for me), but the apex is still a mess. Short of removing much of the existing growth, I'm not sure how to move the branches at the apex without it looking cluttered.
FrontB_apex.jpgFrontB_top.jpg

Thanks for reading this far! Any input would be fantastic. This is my most substantial tree, so I really want to do it justice! Thanks again!
 

Attachments

  • FrontB_foliage.jpg
    FrontB_foliage.jpg
    387.9 KB · Views: 66

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
28,294
Reaction score
38,403
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Welcome to Crazy!

Resorce.

Within Bonsai...we always talk about patience.

Most of us are patient enough within the yearly cycle.
right time of year

But very few of us are patient...well..it's not even patience is it?...
It Future Vision!

Few have the future vision necessary to know to be patient enough to cut a branch in 5-10 years.

the length of your branches may need reduction...
but what of their thickness, taper, forks, direction, proportion to themselves- others - the trunk.
what of the next segment of trunk?


I don't know how these grow but that taller section seems a lost cause.

We do this too.. Hold on to stuff we shouldn't because it "almost sort of seemed like someone's good idea".

We tend to hold to true to plans.
Even if the tree is clearly better in another direction.

in order to grow that high trunk out proper, you would almost need so much foliage...that the foliage itself would snap that piece off.
let alone a jumping squirrel!


too much risk for me.

I would keep it to strengthen the live vein around that DW. But otherwise keep it slated for removal.

There is a powerful tree in that low trunk.
20years out.

S
 

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
Made some progress after some more structural pruning and wiring. Would love to hear what people think, or if they have any input! Sure hope the branches I selected actually keep growing...finished.jpg
 

Potawatomi13

Masterpiece
Messages
3,783
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Eugene, OR
USDA Zone
8
Redwood pretty vigorous. Should be fine if horticultural skills good. Grow like redwood, not bush or Pine;).
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,756
Reaction score
16,173
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
If you don't know how these trees grow and how they respond to various techniques used in bonsai such and pruning and pinching back, you need to find this stuff before you do something you cannot undo. Too often we look at the end game without a clue how you set up all of the moves that take you there. I don't know what to do with one of these but you need to know and yes, they are not Pines or Junipers, they are a tree separate unto themselves.
 

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
Redwood pretty vigorous. Should be fine if horticultural skills good. Grow like redwood, not bush or Pine;).
The issue I ran into was that the material had some very unusual features to begin with which made it hard to style it like a typical redwood. All of the foliage was growing out of the top 2-3 inches in every damn direction, but I liked the deadwood and base enough to give it a shot. Here's how it looked when I got it:

IMG_20180825_164024.jpg

Given the unique starting point, I thought I'd try something similar to Ryan Neils redwoods

14_0319_studio-486.jpg


I guess whether or not you like those is up for debate too.
 

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
If you don't know how these trees grow and how they respond to various techniques used in bonsai such and pruning and pinching back, you need to find this stuff before you do something you cannot undo. Too often we look at the end game without a clue how you set up all of the moves that take you there. I don't know what to do with one of these but you need to know and yes, they are not Pines or Junipers, they are a tree separate unto themselves.
I have a couple of more typical looking redwoods - they are my favorite type of tree. This piece was just so much more unique from the start that I wanted to get other people's input.
 

BrianBay9

Omono
Messages
1,590
Reaction score
2,540
Location
Marina, CA
USDA Zone
10a
I had trouble initially managing redwood foliage until Bob Shimon gave a presentation to our club. They are very particular in how and when foliage can be pruned.
 

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
I had trouble initially managing redwood foliage until Bob Shimon gave a presentation to our club. They are very particular in how and when foliage can be pruned.
I've tried to follow his advice (either directly, or through Ryan Neil), but I'd be curious what your general rules of thumb are.
 

BrianBay9

Omono
Messages
1,590
Reaction score
2,540
Location
Marina, CA
USDA Zone
10a
What I got was:

1. Only prune when foliage is actively growing.
2. Never prune closer to the trunk than the closest pushing bud
3. On the newly growing foliage that you don't prune, pinch out the apical tips while soft and green, to force back budding
4. Only wire branches that have lignified.
 

coh

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,504
Reaction score
6,136
Location
Rochester, NY
USDA Zone
6
One of the things Ryan talks about is pruning around this time of year. He says he's had good luck getting budding where he wants by doing it that way - but from what I've gathered, the trees needs to have already started to set buds. If you cut at the wrong time these tend to produce buds back at the base of growth or even from the trunk (and may discard the branch you're trying to save).

I'm still trying to work that all out on my two redwoods. I usually will pinch new shoots in the spring in areas of the tree where I don't want/need elongation and this year I'm trying the fall/winter pruning (just did that a week or two ago). I haven't been systematic about it in the past and results have not been great. I'm in a very different climate than where they naturally grow which makes it trickier, and I don't have a greenhouse or cool/sunny spot for them to spend the winter.
 

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
One of the things Ryan talks about is pruning around this time of year. He says he's had good luck getting budding where he wants by doing it that way - but from what I've gathered, the trees needs to have already started to set buds. If you cut at the wrong time these tend to produce buds back at the base of growth or even from the trunk (and may discard the branch you're trying to save).

I'm still trying to work that all out on my two redwoods. I usually will pinch new shoots in the spring in areas of the tree where I don't want/need elongation and this year I'm trying the fall/winter pruning (just did that a week or two ago). I haven't been systematic about it in the past and results have not been great. I'm in a very different climate than where they naturally grow which makes it trickier, and I don't have a greenhouse or cool/sunny spot for them to spend the winter.
Yea I'm trying Ryan's approach as well which is why i just did the major pruning now (and subsequently posted this photo). I already see some budding on the trunk, but hopefully i get some buds on the structural branches i selected as well.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,756
Reaction score
16,173
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I think they are great trees and I look forward to watching your experience with them. Please document your efforts and the subsequent results so we can all learn.
 

Potawatomi13

Masterpiece
Messages
3,783
Reaction score
2,483
Location
Eugene, OR
USDA Zone
8
The issue I ran into was that the material had some very unusual features to begin with which made it hard to style it like a typical redwood. All of the foliage was growing out of the top 2-3 inches in every damn direction, but I liked the deadwood and base enough to give it a shot. Here's how it looked when I got it:

View attachment 219778

Given the unique starting point, I thought I'd try something similar to Ryan Neils redwoods

View attachment 219780


I guess whether or not you like those is up for debate too.

Second suggestion was to see how Ryan does. See Live Streams/believe is one on Redwood;).
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,756
Reaction score
16,173
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I had trouble initially managing redwood foliage until Bob Shimon gave a presentation to our club. They are very particular in how and when foliage can be pruned.
How about sharing details?
 

eeeealmo

Yamadori
Messages
83
Reaction score
106
Location
San Jose, CA
How about sharing details?
Bob sent me a "care guide" when I bought the tree. Here are the full contents of what he sent :

*Use a good draining soil. A mix of 2 parts akadama, one part each of lava rock and pumice is a good mix or 100% akadama also works well.
*Don't let the soil dry out and mist the foliage when watering.
*feeding is important. Use a well balanced fertilizer monthly such as 6-4-2, 5-5-5, or 10- 10-10 during the growing season and 0-10-10 during the winter. I also water the foliage and soil with miracle grow or mira-acid weekly during the growing season.
*Once the tree is established, keep only the growth that you intend to develop into branches.
*Loosely wire the growth that you intend to develop into branches. Do this before they become "woody."
*Redwoods can tolerate a light frost. If you anticipate temperatures in the mid 20's or lower for extended periods, you will need to protect the tree.
*Heat doesn't seem to be a problem, however direct sun in hot areas can burn the foliage. Even in cooler areas, they do well in shade.
*They can develop fungus, in which the foliage will turn yellow/brown with black spots. It can be controlled fairly easily with almost any fungicide.
*Pinch back the new growth when the tree is healthy, active, and well fertilized.
 

BrianBay9

Omono
Messages
1,590
Reaction score
2,540
Location
Marina, CA
USDA Zone
10a
Bob sent me a "care guide" when I bought the tree. Here are the full contents of what he sent :

*Use a good draining soil. A mix of 2 parts akadama, one part each of lava rock and pumice is a good mix or 100% akadama also works well.
*Don't let the soil dry out and mist the foliage when watering.
*feeding is important. Use a well balanced fertilizer monthly such as 6-4-2, 5-5-5, or 10- 10-10 during the growing season and 0-10-10 during the winter. I also water the foliage and soil with miracle grow or mira-acid weekly during the growing season.
*Once the tree is established, keep only the growth that you intend to develop into branches.
*Loosely wire the growth that you intend to develop into branches. Do this before they become "woody."
*Redwoods can tolerate a light frost. If you anticipate temperatures in the mid 20's or lower for extended periods, you will need to protect the tree.
*Heat doesn't seem to be a problem, however direct sun in hot areas can burn the foliage. Even in cooler areas, they do well in shade.
*They can develop fungus, in which the foliage will turn yellow/brown with black spots. It can be controlled fairly easily with almost any fungicide.
*Pinch back the new growth when the tree is healthy, active, and well fertilized.

Maybe I got the "wire branches when lignified" part wrong, but I thought I was clear on that. My mind may not be the steel trap it used to be:rolleyes:
 

Bananaman

Chumono
Messages
668
Reaction score
1,550
Maybe I got the "wire branches when lignified" part wrong, but I thought I was clear on that. My mind may not be the steel trap it used to be:rolleyes:
Those instructions could be used for hundreds of species of plants. Don’t beat yourself up. Most people advocate wire while still green and pliable, that’s almost universal in Bonsai. Redwood branches respond very well to wire when woody. They will hold shape after about 120 days. They grow so fast that holding shape is easy.
 
Top Bottom