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BonsaiWes

Mame
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OK, it should be clear enough the growing aspects of the tree are in order. How about we get back on track and discuss some styling options..some "bonsai method" which was the original subject. I know I can simply grow through the chop area and branch union and just kinda grind down any reverse tapering effects from the scar tissue. I was thinking though of driving a sharp chisel a couple inches (2") down the center between the 2 apex branches and then carving them down some from the inside. Then nudging a wedge(trunk splitter) into the split for a season to help the area hold enough spread to look like a natural split. Basicly creating a fork at the top with one of the main branches riding the end of each prong. The reason I think I need something further done with the chopped area is with in 3-5 years reverse taper will start swelling around the branch unions.

Opinions are anyone have simialr methods or solutions for forked trees?
 

agraham

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I think you need to put it in the ground and let it grow some.It seems that you are reluctant to listen to the advice of others who are more knowledgeable than you.Why?

andy
 
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I think you need to put it in the ground and let it grow some.It seems that you are reluctant to listen to the advice of others who are more knowledgeable than you.Why?

andy
Andy, have you grown these in the ground? Will, have you? I have tried. You might as well then recollect the tree and start again. The roots go crazy straight down, and the top grows far too fast.

I think Behr was right on the money. This crown needs to be slowed down considerably to keep it from running away with the tree.

In this case, what we have read about growing bonsai is contraindicated by the reality of growing bonsai. Listen to the wisdom of those who have practical experience in the case at hand. It's really a special case, the "prevailing wisdom" will screw you up. Putting this tree in a pond basket would make it impossible to keep it damp enough. It actually has too much drainage.

There's a lot of irresponsible advice being thrown around from people who live in areas far outside of this tree's habitat. You live in a good area for this tree. Keep it in the pot you have it in. If, in two years, you feel the top is not growing fast enough, you have the time to put it in a slightly larger pot. I like this tree and what you are doing with it. I might consider going taller with it, but since you have chopped it here, use what you have and bring the top up taller with the crown of the tree rather than trying to wire a branch up for a new leader.
Tom said:
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.
The style, I think, is correct for this tree since that is the shape of the mature tree in the wild. Can the tree be styled otherwise? Of course it can. But the flat top style has nothing to do with ego or fads. It has to do with the human mind breaking free of straitjacket rules. I don't love all of Walter Pall's trees, the candelabra style comes to mind, but I love a great many of them. This is one case of a truly American style that is not contrived or artificial. This tree belongs in this style.

Keep up the good work, Wes.

P.S. the drawing is crude, but the idea is to bring these branches further up before spreading out. You can get the taller look that way and it should come out very natural with the way you have made your cut.
 

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agraham

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Chris,

No I have not ever grown one in the ground.What difference does that make? I have read articles about them.You can root prune these while in the ground.All you have to do is use a spade around the base.I think I read somewhere that you should spade one third of the roots one year and then a third the next and so on.This will make a nice fibrous root system so that the tree can be easily lifted.

Contrary to Wes' point in another thread,there are very knowledgeable and accomplished bonsai artists on this site and he is not paying attention to their advice.I just don't understand why someone would post a picture of a tree and then not listen to what more experienced artists have to say.

andy
 
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Andy, I am not getting on you. Please understand that. However, this tree responds in the ground like no other. You may as well not have collected it as to put it in the ground. They grow so fast that even in the pot it should be fine. If Wes finds it's not growing fast enough, he can always up-pot the tree. I don't think he is refusing anyone's advice except the incorrect admonition to put it in the ground.

You imply that knowledgeable and accomplished people on this thread are of one mind, but Tom was originally looking for a pine-styled tree, and Dale and Behr were right in agreement with what Wes was doing (he was actually following Dale's advice). Seems like if there is a consensus among knowledgeable people, it would be to keep it in the pot it's in!

All the reading in the world will not replace a) hands-on, real world experience for good or bad, and b) hands-on, real-world experience handed down from a teacher to student. So the key is to hedge our bets just a little.

"This is what I have read about trees in general, what specifics about this tree would make that not apply?"

I just made contact with someone recently, who is able to develop real knees on collected bald cypress in the pot, something that supposedly is near impossible to do. I got so excited to learn something new about these trees! Will I try bald cypress? Not sure, since the winters and summers are both extreme here in Kansas. But it got me going.

I'm just saying.
 
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Andy, have you grown these in the ground? Will, have you?
No, and I did not suggest doing so either, what I did suggest was a larger pot than it is in, a box, or a screen sided planter in order to allow the top growth to catch up in thickness, something that is next to impossible to do in a small pot. Common knowledge based on experience. The rush to a bonsai pot is a bad habit practiced by many, and in my opinion, is a poor choice no matter what the species or climate. If a tree has chop scars or if it needs its apex, trunk, or branches thickened, putting it into a bonsai pot and not a training pot, unless it is an over-sized bonsai pot, is a poor decision.

I think Behr was right on the money. This crown needs to be slowed down considerably to keep it from running away with the tree.
When the scars have healed and the branches have reached the desired thickness, this would in fact be right on the money. Slowing the crown down now will slow the healing of the scars. In my opinion, this tree is not yet ready to start refinement work on the crown, let it grow because on in this way will you heal those scars and thicken those branches.

Putting this tree in a pond basket would make it impossible to keep it damp enough. It actually has too much drainage.
Then one would need to adjust the soil mix.

There's a lot of irresponsible advice being thrown around from people who live in areas far outside of this tree's habitat.
I agree, although I think we are talking about different advice. Fact, restricting roots will slow down the growth. Fact, doing so now will drastically slow down the rate at which the scars heal and the branches thicken. These facts are the same in any climate and although the rate of slowed growth may vary from species to species and from climate to climate, it is still slowed.

The style, I think, is correct for this tree since that is the shape of the mature tree in the wild. Can the tree be styled otherwise? Of course it can. But the flat top style has nothing to do with ego or fads. It has to do with the human mind breaking free of straitjacket rules.
I agree, the owner is free to follow whatever they hear the tree speaking, the success of doing so will be determined further down the road.

As I said, I love this stock, I wish it were mine.


Will
 
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You obviously don't know what you are talking about on these trees. Give it up. Something has to slow down the growth of these voracious growers. They are far to easy to grow out of proportion. If the top goes too fast, you start again. If it grows too slow, you can speed it up by up-potting, as I have said. What's the problem?
 

rlist

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I respect Wes' request to keep this topic style related, and I hope that I am not hijacking it any further. That said, I have two areas to address. First, a BC that I will dig from the field this year and start to style. Second, how I would like to address the styling of the tree (which goes exactly with what Wes is trying to accomplish and is why I am posting here instead of starting a new thread).

First - I have a BC tagged in the field and want to dig it this year. It is about 20' tall, has a 10" caliper trunk, is about 6" at a height of about 36", has lots of low branches but has never been styled. It was planted about 8 years ago over a 6" tile, and has radial roots that are over 2" in diameter and go straight down as Dale and Chris mention. I am in zone 8. My questions are: when is the best time to dig this, what is the best mix to put it into, and will it push radial roots if I cut the large roots near the surface (i.e. like a cutting as I have seen some collectors post trees dug from swamps in the south with no roots what-so-ever). I was planning on digging the first of March, putting it into a Boon-ish mix with lava, pumice and turface, and planting it into a Home Depot Mason's tub that is something like 16" x 19" x 5" deep inside dimensions. Thoughts and comments?

Second - I was going to chop it somewhere in the 36" high range (to be determined when I actually have the tree in front of me and not guessing on dimensions from what I remember), with a flat cut. I have been intrigued by the flat top cypress, as it is a much more elegant look than the powerful (yet wonderful) redwood-looking trees that Guy produces. I was then going to style the tree along the lines of something like this: http://www.bonsai-wbff.org/nabf/newsletter2/bcarticle.htm . Thoughts and comments?

Again, sorry Wes. But, I do hope that the second part of this post will get this thread back to the styling questions you originally had.
 
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cbobgo

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anyone who has actually worked with this species of tree knows that the branches will thicken rediculously fast regardless of what size pot it is planted in.

Furthermore, for the style he is going for, he is not going to want stong/heavy/thick branches. They will be thinner branches way up tall at the top of the tree. They should look quite small in proportion to the trunk, so that the optical image of looking up at a very tall tree is preserved.

General rules and common knowlege do not always apply to every tree in every situation.

- bob
 

irene_b

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I agree they can be voracious growers.
I am on this one all the time.
Irene

and yes it is a cascade
 
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You obviously don't know what you are talking about on these trees. Give it up. Something has to slow down the growth of these voracious growers. They are far to easy to grow out of proportion. If the top goes too fast, you start again. If it grows too slow, you can speed it up by up-potting, as I have said. What's the problem?
You assume too much.

I don't have a problem. The question asked of you requires only a yes or no answer. Does restricting roots in this species slow down growth? I'll save you the trouble of answering, the answer is yes.

You keep talking about the the top growing out of proportion, while this is a concern with this and many other species, it is not really that big of a deal, new branches can easily be created as have been done on this one shown. My point, not my problem, is that the branches should not be the concern at this time, what should be the concern is healing those scars and creating realistic taper of the trunk and then bringing the branch thickness into proportion, only then should one (because they grow quickly) slow down the growth and start worrying about refining the branches.

You said if the growth is too slow you up-pot, if this is the case Chris, then the time spent in the small pot was wasted. You also said if the top grows to fast, you start again...this is my point, you want fast growth to heal the chop scars and to thicken the branches. The branches can be cut back in the future but not before they reach the thickness needed. Once healed, new branches can be grown easily, the existing ones are really of little importance until taper is achieved and chops are healed.

Please tell me where this is wrong Chris, please educate me as to why this process as described is flawed. Forget the pot shots about not knowing what I am talking about or if I have ever grown one in the ground. I have clearly stated my thoughts and posted solid horticultural reasons behind them, have the common courtesy to do the same.

In summary... to heal chop scars and thicken branches you need unrestricted growth. Potting a tree in a small pot restricts root growth and thereby slows all overall growth, prolonging or defeating the goal of healing scars or thickening. I am asking why this well known information does not apply to this species.

I guess the real test is what this tree will look like in a couple years, will it still have unhealed scars and branches out of porportion? I guess we will wait and see.


Will

http://www.bonsainorthshore.com/la_bald_cypress__specimen_bonsai.htm
http://www.bonsainorthshore.com/Bald cypress Bonsai Twister.htm
 
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In summary... to heal chop scars and thicken branches you need unrestricted growth. Potting a tree in a small pot restricts root growth and thereby slows all overall growth, prolonging or defeating the goal of healing scars or thickening. I am asking why this well known information does not apply to this species.

I guess the real test is what this tree will look like in a couple years, will it still have unhealed scars and branches out of porportion? I guess we will wait and see.

Will
It's not a potshot, Will. The proper way to say this is not unrestricted growth, it's vigorous growth. Your best shot on not letting this one get away from you is carefully planned restricted vigorous growth. And the trees you linked are nice and amazing and all that. But they are not this tree.
 
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irene_b

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I respect Wes' request to keep this topic style related, and I hope that I am not hijacking it any further. That said, I have two areas to address. First, a BC that I will dig from the field this year and start to style. Second, how I would like to address the styling of the tree (which goes exactly with what Wes is trying to accomplish and is why I am posting here instead of starting a new thread).

First - I have a BC tagged in the field and want to dig it this year. It is about 20' tall, has a 10" caliper trunk, is about 6" at a height of about 36", has lots of low branches but has never been styled. It was planted about 8 years ago over a 6" tile, and has radial roots that are over 2" in diameter and go straight down as Dale and Chris mention. I am in zone 8. My questions are: when is the best time to dig this, what is the best mix to put it into, and will it push radial roots if I cut the large roots near the surface (i.e. like a cutting as I have seen some collectors post trees dug from swamps in the south with no roots what-so-ever). I was planning on digging the first of March, putting it into a Boon-ish mix with lava, pumice and turface, and planting it into a Home Depot Mason's tub that is something like 16" x 19" x 5" deep inside dimensions. Thoughts and comments?

Second - I was going to chop it somewhere in the 36" high range (to be determined when I actually have the tree in front of me and not guessing on dimensions from what I remember), with a flat cut. I have been intrigued by the flat top cypress, as it is a much more elegant look than the powerful (yet wonderful) redwood-looking trees that Guy produces. I was then going to style the tree along the lines of something like this: http://www.bonsai-wbff.org/nabf/newsletter2/bcarticle.htm . Thoughts and comments?

Again, sorry Wes. But, I do hope that the second part of this post will get this thread back to the styling questions you originally had.


Oh I like this !
Fantastic..
Irene
 

agraham

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That "Twister" tree is incredible!

I agree with Will on this one,Chris.You can't heal scars and develop ramification at the same time.Well,you could I guess, but it will take years.The way to go would be to put this in a bigger pot or the ground and get the tree growing in order to heal that scar.Then cut back the new leader and let it grow again to heal that scar....and so on and so on.This will give the tree a nice taper and not an abrubt change in thickness.

andy
 

cbobgo

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he's not looking for taper. What thread have you guys been reading? He is styling a flat top tree. That's a long, strait trunk with minimal taper, topped by spreading branches. No taper required. Think of it as an exagerated broom. Multiple branches coming out at the top of the tree. There is no need of taper.

The chop scar will heel, or not, it doesn't really matter for this design. The branches will be thin, because they are meant to look like they are very far away at the top of a tall tree.

Yes, the things you keep saying are true, in general. But there are specific instances where the general rules do not necesarily apply. This is one of those times.

- bob
 

Graydon

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Wow - lots of back and forth on this one. These things grow like weeds here in sunny Florida. I'm going to throw out some generalizations and experiences that really have nothing to do with this tree per se but they do relate to cypress in pot culture. By the way - I think you are off to a good start. I see flat top cypress every day. What does it look like from above if I may ask?

I have attached some photos of my frankenstein cypress. Not a keeper, I just torture it to see how it responds. Four years ago it was a seedling growing in the open ground. I yanked it out of the ground (literally) and planted it in ground at home. Two years later I removed it from the ground (no yanking - too big) so I got the axe and went medieval in it. Almost no roots left - there were no feeder roots at all. I potted it up in a large pond basket with the only soil I had - a very coarse orchid mix. It sat in the shade of another tree for a year in that basket getting watered via misters 2 times daily. When I finally got around to looking at it the roots had grown thru the sides of the basket as well as in to the pine straw mulch from below. Again - yank from the basket, bare root and I removed almost all of the roots again, paying special attention to chop the remaining fat ones again. Potted this time in a terra cotta pot in a mixture of lava and coarse mahogany planer shavings. Go figure.

I pulled it today and bare rooted it again to see what was going on. You be the judge - seems to be doing fine.

My point? I don't think they care about soil, standing water, drainage (or lack of it). Reduce the roots as needed and pop it in a pot. Water well. Rinse and repeat. No need to go in to the ground now. The trunk has reached desired size.
 

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Wes, are you getting all of this? I think you are well on your way to making a nice flat top style bald cypress, and for the life of me can't figure out why people keep pushing photos/concepts into this thread that have nothing related to this style, tree type, or your objective. I have, for example, a bald cypress(several, in fact) that I chopped late last spring. It is in a small, shallow growing container that is no larger or deeper than the bonsai pot it will eventually go into.In just one season, a short one at that, the new leader grew 2', and the chop mark rolled(healed) well over half of the chopped area, which is about 1 3/4", maybe 2".These trees are so apex dominant in growth that HIGH chop marks will heal crazy fast.(rewarding ,rewarding, very rewarding:D ). The only recommendation I have, one which I practice on my own bc's is to rotate it in and out of a soaking tub, a week in, a week or two out, with normal watering during the out period. Good luck.
 

cbobgo

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amazing what you can learn from people who have actually worked with the species under discussion!

- bob
 

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