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BonsaiWes

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Here is a BC under construction. Pics are from the first chop and possible choices for a front then followed by a full year of growing and a first wiring/styling. Then taking the large roots down and potting into a 17.5" bonsai dish. I had posted some pics of this tree else where but it was quickly buried and not taken very seriously as a styling thread. I think I have handled the tree well up until this point. I see in the next growing season growing secondary branching and finding a plan to make the chop mark look more natural should be the next step.
 

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BonsaiWes

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Here is the next set of photos, the root work in progress.The soil was washed away then I used a 18volt reciprocating saw to remove the very large tuber type of roots and followed with a high grade scissors to remove the feeder roots and others smaller than 1" in diameter.
 

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Tachigi

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What are the dimensions on this tree Wes?
 

BonsaiWes

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Here the base was being measured to make sure the pot would be of suitable size and I had to remove another inch from the roots again with the power saw before wiring the base down. Then a pic of the tree in it's new pot, at about 33" tall. You can clearly see I haven't decided what to do with the chop at the top.
 

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Tachigi

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Wes, Its a nice tree. However I would trunk chop it down a bit and wire up on of the branches as a leader. Its a damn tall tree with minimal taper. I would also put in a large grow box if not the ground and let the branches and the leader run to great taper. If you put it in that bonsai pot you are going to be waiting till the cows come home to develop any girth on the branches or leader. If you haven't checked out Guy Guidry's site you should. The man does some amazing stuff with BC.

Just my 2 cents worth. :) Was going to post a virt but their is a problem so maybe later
 

BonsaiWes

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Wes, Its a nice tree. However I would trunk chop it down a bit and wire up on of the branches as a leader. Its a damn tall tree with minimal taper. I would also put in a large grow box if not the ground and let the branches and the leader run to great taper. If you put it in that bonsai pot you are going to be waiting till the cows come home to develop any girth on the branches or leader. If you haven't checked out Guy Guidry's site you should. The man does some amazing stuff with BC.

Just my 2 cents worth. :) Was going to post a virtue but their is a problem so maybe later

Hmmm, You are saying all of this just to give me a hard time I think.;)

Last year Gary Marchal said I already chopped it to low when I showed him the first set of pics. If memory serves I think the ratio was supposed to be at least 1:20, 20" tall for every 1" of girth but I had already cut so it was to late. Then following Dale Cohcoys advice "do the worst in the beginnings", I opted for a shallow pot before I have invested more time in a tree that hadn't had the roots taken down flat. As to branch girth, I have heard a few times that with BC branches have to be removed a lot of the time after about 5-7 years and started over from scratch. They grow so fast often they will catch up with the trunk girth and ruin the image. This tree went from having zero branches to the 2 apex branches for example that are close to a pinky finger thick in one summer zone 7. I will keep them in check a little while so the other branches can catch up to them some, the apical dominance is kinda hard to get around so top branches growing out to fast is common but controllable in a small pot I hear.

The bark looks terrible from animal damage so to take care of that I plan to use a very mild lime sulfur spray which will create the uniform color and restore that natural grey color they get, the other bits will just have to regrow on their own. So this leaves me with the chop area to take care of as I mentioned in my above post. I was thinking of carving a 2"-3"long and crooked v shape into there kind of like how the Naka books say to start a broom from a stump, but for this only to eliminate the classic machete slashed look.
 

Tachigi

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Hmmm, You are saying all of this just to give me a hard time I think.
Oman ..... not me! :)

I am not familiar with that particular ratio that you gave. If you believe in ratios I think John Naka gave a 1:6 ratio. So this one is new to me. I can say this, that if Guidry's tree's followed that ratio they'd be 20 feet tall or better. To be honest, I don't get not putting it in a larger pot. Whether you keep this tree as is or chop it. It needs to grow and we all know that growth is retarded in a bonsai pot verses the ground or a large grow box. Anyway sounds like you have a game plan and a mind set. I included some pic's of Guy's trees. First one is of his tree at the John Naka Pavilion, National Arboretum and keep your eye on the tree. ;)
 

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Oman ..... not me! :)

I am not familiar with that particular ratio that you gave. If you believe in ratios I think John Naka gave a 1:6 ratio. So this one is new to me. I can say this, that if Guidry's tree's followed that ratio they'd be 20 feet tall or better. To be honest, I don't get not putting it in a larger pot. Whether you keep this tree as is or chop it. It needs to grow and we all know that growth is retarded in a bonsai pot verses the ground or a large grow box. Anyway sounds like you have a game plan and a mind set. I included some pic's of Guy's trees. First one is of his tree at the John Naka Pavilion, National Arboretum and keep your eye on the tree. ;)
Hi,

I had a feeling you were thinking of those types of trees. I have included some nature and bonsai shots. The eagle shot is from google, prolly a David Chauvin(sp?) picture, one from the Pacific Rim, a 20" tall creation from Banting courtesy pic from Miss Vic Ensor. The third is one of Guy's in dormancy.
 

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Tachigi

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I had a feeling you were thinking of those types of trees
Ahhhhh, I get it now, your one of those......flat top guys.....I've heard about your type before;)
 

BonsaiWes

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Ahhhhh, I get it now, your one of those......flat top guys.....I've heard about your type before;)

Yeah a flat top form in the making, there isn't a styling help forum for that kind of thing here so I stuck it in the formal section. Figured that to be better than the cascade section.
 

Behr

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Mr. Wes,

Very nice progress in the short amount of time...That is going to be a tree to be proud of with your ongoing development...

I am not familiar with that particular ratio that you gave. If you believe in ratios I think John Naka gave a 1:6 ratio. So this one is new to me. I can say this, that if Guidry's tree's followed that ratio they'd be 20 feet tall or better. To be honest, I don't get not putting it in a larger pot. Whether you keep this tree as is or chop it. It needs to grow and we all know that growth is retarded in a bonsai pot verses the ground or a large grow box.
Mr. Tom,

With all due respect, the photos you have shown and the ratio you have referred to is fine IF one has the desire to make their bald cypress have the look of an immature tree, or as in the case of those from Mr. Guy like a 'Japanese bonsai pine'...Mr. Guy I have no doubt, realizes there are many here in the United States that do not have a desire to do anything but 'standard' or 'traditional' bonsai, and indeed he has a tremendous talent for being able to please and entertain those people...This is one of the reasons he has become so popular as a presenter of programs...Mr. Guy however also has some wonderful works that are more toward the 'naturalistic', or I will dare to say 'American' styling...A 'New Orleans workgroup' which included such notables as Vaughn Banting, Gary Marchal, David DeGroot, and Guy, several years ago chose to look outside the 'conventional' bonsai box, and develop a more accurate, natural looking, form for the mature bald cypress...This group gave us a beautiful form which we commonly refer to as the 'flat top bald cypress' form...

I believe I have stated before on this forum, but if not this is a great opportunity...As long as we in the 'Western' world do nothing but attempt to copy or imitate the 'Oriental' bonsai, we will always remain in second place...IF we are able to create trees that look like 'native American' trees, we will leave the Japanese masterpieces in our dust...This is not likely to happen in my lifetime...but hopefully many of you will see it happen...We have some beautiful trees in our country, natural trees, that are found no where else in the world, if we can only learn to use them in our art...Mr. John Naka recognized this and devoted a considerable amount of time, trying to share this with the Western world...

Spend some time occasionally looking at our California Redwoods, Bald Cypress, Bristlecone Pines, Monterey Cypress, Banyan Ficus, and the Southern Live Oak to name a few...The Japanese used trees native to their area as inspiration, as well as drawing from the Chinese designs to develop their own way of doing 'artistic potted trees'...I hope the time will soon come for us in the Western world to do the same...


Regards
Behr

:) :) :)
 
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Regardless of the style or form one is aiming for, Tom's point that development will be dramatically slowed in a bonsai pot is indeed a valid one. Rushing a tree that needs development other than refinement into a bonsai pot is not usually a great idea.


Another flat top picture hot linked from Vaughn Banting's profile at AoB (http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=936).
Notice the smooth transition in taper from trunk to apex branching, this wasn't achieved in a bonsai pot I believe and if it was, it took many years in a much larger pot than the one shown by Wes.



Will
 
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Tachigi

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Mr. Behr, You are quite right. I have read on this forum and others your statement
As long as we in the 'Western' world do nothing but attempt to copy or imitate the 'Oriental' bonsai, we will always remain in second place...IF we are able to create trees that look like 'native American' trees, we will leave the Japanese masterpieces in our dust...This is not likely to happen in my lifetime...but hopefully many of you will see it happen...We have some beautiful trees in our country, natural trees, that are found no where else in the world, if we can only learn to use them in our art...Mr. John Naka recognized this and devoted a considerable amount of time, trying to share this with the Western world...
I do subscribe to that notion as well, it is our culture and heritage. Of all the trees you cited locally I am exposed to just one, the Bald Cypress. They are beautiful trees in nature. However the naturalist/flat top in a pot just doesn't get it for me. It looks immature as a bonsai, I know call me crazy, it just doesn't click for me. I can't help (I'm going to get hung here) but think at times that certain things are pushed by artists for self promotion that really shouldn't be, it then becomes a fade of sorts and is excepted. Naturalistic works for me in some trees not all trees. I applaud BonsaiWes for his pursuit, I finally got where he was going after a few post's or I wouldn't have bored him with mine :) As always Behr your insight and words are a pleasure.
 

Dale Cochoy

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Since Wes mentioned me, I shall respond.
Looking at wes' first two sets of pics as he showed in BT chat I gave him my advice I always give...."Do the worst stuff first". I accepted this advice many years ago from bonsai artist Kelly Adkins, then also a student of my teacher Keith Scott. Kelly had been a student many years.
My purpose, especially looking at this photo set, is to take a large deep nursery can specimen and get it to a bonsai training pot before you spend 4-5 years working on the top. If you are going to kill it getting it into a pot....better to do it before years of work!
I knew looking at the photos that this tree was going to have huge roots to the bottom of the can, and, PROBABLY, circling around. IMO it's best to get that ot of the way now. He had already done a good start on his direction towards a flat top BC styling. Some wiring and top tapering can be done and developed fine once this tree is established in a pot that is going in the right direction.
This is my belief in styling methods with whatever the type of stock, and I've been discouraged every time I've not followed my own advice. What good is a wildly growing and/or estavblished top...if you kill it getting it reduced into a decent pot to display the specimen. I might have chosen a bit deeper traing pot read intermediate pot if I He) had one. If not, this one is fine and his butress and rootbase are very nice. I understand it had quite good fibrous rootage even with removal of the heavy vert. roots.
Regards,
Dale
 
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My purpose, especially looking at this photo set, is to take a large deep nursery can specimen and get it to a bonsai training pot .....
Agreed. Well put and well said.

However, do we not want branches to be wildly growing in order to bring the thickness into proportion with the tree itself? Once this proportion is met, then it is time to start cutting them back and inducing ramification, in a pot that will slow down the growth at that time, not before it occurs.

Don't get me wrong, Wes has an excellent piece of stock here, I'd love to have it, it indeed has a future. The only thing in question is if that future has been postponed by the rush into a small pot or not.


Will
 

Dale Cochoy

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OK,
Hmmm,
According to Wes, the large roots removed still left lots of fine rootage, which as we know, is what does the work. These should support and develope the tree.
If we put this BC from the training pot into yet another deeper/larger training pot OR into the ground those heavy roots would become even moreso, thus, making the future of getting it into a bonsai pot even more tough and risky. I don't know if you have ever planted a BC in the open ground in zone 5 climate and the type of soil we have, but the roots go straight down ( unless previously cut short and something placed under the tree to stop them). I have removed BC planted in my yard and they were like yews with roots practically as large as the trunk going....straight down.
Do they grow faster in the ground....undoubtedly!
Is that what we always want....NO!
I this case I feel the top taper on the few branches he'll need to start his flat top will easily be obtained, and the taper will come. As fast, no, but he's got themost dangerous part outof the way.
I'd rather work a little extra timeon taper than throw a great tapered tree into the trash after 5 years when I kill it getting it out of the ground and trimming the roots.
Now, my advice is tempered with zone 5 experience, not zone 9 so I wouldn't expect Floridians to pay much attention to my precautions.
Regards,
Dale
 

BonsaiRic

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Looking Good

Wes,
Great job so far. I too like the flat-top BC and have several in the trunk thickening stage (3"). I'll look forward to your progression. Thanks!!
 

BonsaiWes

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In the pot is a bottom layer of fresh soil, then the tree was placed into it and soil was added on top of that then mounded around the base. There is a good amount of free space in the 18" pot for new roots to fill and we average something like a 7-8 month growing season being in the south. All this in mind worst case is I slip the tree out and trim all the downward growing roots and roots that may have grown long and started to circle which is fine and good for the trees vitality. I plan to do this any way. I have done this same work before on a bc of the same size but ended up selling it the second year of owning it, in my care the tree never suffered.

I have been doing this same thing with a zelkova I stumped last feb2006, the tree had been root worked by Vonsgardens very hard to encourage new healthy feeder roots, being in a bonsai pot it grew very well for the full season. The zelkova gets another root trim this month for health and any roots wanting to go downward or has begun to circle and goes back into a bonsai pot. Actualy the tree was grown from a cutting in a bonsai pot only and spent part of that time in a Japanese 1" deep pot. In the pics you will see one seasons of growth in a bonsai pot.
 

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Yes, fine feeder roots is what we want in bonsai pots, no argument there from me. However, in order to obtain the growth we need to thicken branches, trunks, and to heal those chop and pruning scars you need free root growth which can not be accomplished by pruning roots every year....the energy goes to healing roots and creating the resulting fine roots and not into the upper growth.

The one years growth shown above is fine and is to be expected with any plant that is throwing out shoots, a plant would die if it didn't do so. But, once again, in order for those shoots to thicken and the scars on that tree to heal, you'll need more than just year old shoots and you certainly do not want to prune these shoots in order to start inducing ramification, that would defeat the purpose of letting them grow.

Now, I am not saying this tree wouldn't achieve the growth needed to thicken the branches and heal the scars in a bonsai pot, I am saying it will take much longer to do so, maybe too long.

I agree with Dale that creating fine roots and getting the plant acclimated is important and should be done, but you do not have to sacrifice growth in order to do so. Planting in a screen sided planter that is a few sizes larger than these pots will both allow free root growth while air pruning them at the edges and by default, create the fine feeder roots needed for the eventual move into a bonsai pot. Even a flat box could do the job, just not as well in my opinion.

I also agree that ground growth or large pot growth would destroy the branching, this is true, which is exactly why we should get the growth and healing done first and only then move it into a smaller pot to control growth while starting branch refinement. Trying to accomplish both at the same time is self defeating.

It has been my experience that chop scars virtually never heal when the tree is in a small container. Even the inch or two quoted as being room enough for the roots to grow is not quite true, a healthy plant will fill that space within a year and then one would have to allow the roots to circle to achieve the growth needed to thicken the top, defeating the fine feeder roots that already exist.

Am I off track here?



Will
 

Behr

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Mr. Wes is in zone 7, I am in zone 9+, I have also lived in the past in the area where Mr. Wes currently lives and had a couple bald cypress in training at the time...While they do not grow quite as quickly in NW Arkansas as they do here in South Central Texas, there is not that much difference in the areas for the development of the species...This species does certainly have a noticeably different growth and development pattern than most 'temperate' trees...Working with the growth patterns of the 'baldie' is more like working with tropicals in the warmer climates...The growth is extremely apical dominate, and must be controlled accordingly...It is not unusual for a branch near the top, or a leader, to gain as much as 2 inches girth in a single growing season in the ground or large container with no drainage, whereby the tree can be grown in standing water...As Mr. Dale pointed out they also develop some enormous [almost useless] roots for bonsai pot culture...One of my main 'dislikes' about a majority of the collected baldies is the roots 'chopped' off and showing on the surface of the soil...I don't like this look but do understand the 'how and why' of it with collected trees...If I were working with this tree I most likely would not have followed the same path, however I definitely do not believe this is a case of "rush into a small pot"...If it were an elm, maple, or many of the other more 'traditional' species, then yes I would agree it is being rushed...If it were being cultivated in a more northern region, I might even agree it is being rushed...But considering the growth habits of the species, and the zone it is being cultivated in I believe Mr. Wes will be very busy keeping up with the growth and development of the crown of the tree so it does not get away from him and result in 'out of proportion' branches needing to be cut off and re-grown...The rough transition as a result of the chop will be the largest hurdle for this tree now, but I just can't seem to get him to listen to me on that...

Regards
Behr

:) :) :)
 

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