The UGLY tree thread

Eric Group

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#1
Since most of the trees I have styled myself have turned out to be pretty damn ugly as I spent the last 10-15 years teaching myself how to do this, I generally don't go around this forum bragging about my gorgeous trees! With that in mind, I figured if I was gonna post a couple pics, it would have be with the understanding that I KNOW they are ugly or progressions showing the development from raw stock to where they are now/ will be in the future. I have posted the early stages of a couple Maples I am reworking recently- now it is time to own the damage.

My name is Eric, and I make UGLY trees!

This first one is a Japanese Black Pine I bought from Lowes about... 6 years ago probably. The picture was taken a year or two back, and after looking at it grow almost NONE, despite being in a fairly large container, and after consulting with a friend, it has been planted in a more suitable location- the GROUND! I am afraid this one might have been infected with a fungus, probably some kind of needle cast, and I have been treating with Copper fungicide. I may have to go stronger to really knock it out. He is still growing fine though, no dead needles, just some spots on them, and the candles are extending nicely... Maybe I can post an updated pic tomorrow of him sitting in the ground.

Future plans- it needs to be shortened. Can't decide if I want to pancake that upper bend and make it nasty sharp, or if I just need to whack it off... Regardless, I plan on making those decisions after the tree gets healthy (again, it is growing fine, no real ill effects except some off colored needles) if I want to bend it I will have to do it soon before it gets much thicker... Regardless f which way I go, I plan to find the strongest candle low on the tree and make a sacrifice to thicken the base.

Anybody have some thoughts on a re-style?

I do hope others will fess up and show me something ugly growing in your yard to make me feel better!

I DO own a few rather pretty trees now as well (mostly ones that were already pretty when I purchased them!), but they don't belong in the ugly tree thread!
 

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#2
Here's some real gems...

You only want 5?!!

The first is a railroad tamarack. It actually has potential, but it's taken awhile...

Then a Scot pine a gathered years ago, it was scraggly, one I've pushed the foliage back too much, I repotted it and found the crazy root. I'm think about making a cascade out of it.

The next tamarack I have been twisting and torturing for the last five years. I crank on it, cut on it, split the trunk and than fertilize it and let it grow like crazy every year. It might become something interesting one day... Maybe not.

The next pine is potentially hopeless. It had a dead top at a nursery. I'm getting it healthy and then maybe some carving can make something of it.

I've shown this maple before. When someone comes into my yard who knows bonsai, I know they are wondering what in the world I am up to. I do to!

Great thread...humble pie...show us your junk!!
 

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#3
I promise this is my last post of clunkers...

The first is a nursery reclamation. I loved the bark. I think it's an Austrian Black pine.

The next is a straight stick, short Scot Pine. Trunk too straight to be interesting, needles too long to be a tree this short.

The third is a Scot pine blown over into the woods. The top was in serious shade and it budded out at the base. Over the years the top weakened and the base grew something nice. I got permission to collect the tree and to my joy, I just peeled it off of a rock with a mass of roots. This year I'm going check the roots and see if I can solve a large root issue.

Another railroad tamarack. They grow these crazy roots in the large rocks of the railroad bed.

Finally two failed tamarack projects put together to see what can happen with a twin trunk. At this point I'm keeping them both alive!!
 

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Eric Group

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#4
Ha! Thanks man, I am feeling better already! I suppose this should work something like the regular tree thread? Post a pic if you comment?

This one ain't even fair... It is made even uglier by the super bad photo! Oddly enough, I LOVE this tree! It has a story- bought it from a nursery years ago. Some fly by night set up in a parking lot in Beaufort SC, this was an ancient old Azalea that seemed to have never been repotted from the nursery container it was in- and it must have been 30+ years old when I found it. (Hell, it might be a hundred for all I know). Had a big trunk for a single trunk azalea that grew up in a pot... And the roots look nasty and snarled up in this pic, but cleaned up nice actually! It has a decent root spread, flattened out and fused nebari developing now... So I bought it probably 7-8 years ago (maybe longer). It was super pot bound, struggled along for a year or so after I tried repotting it... I finally decided to put it in the ground at the home I lived in the time (now a place I am renting out)... And it did well, then got attacked by some kind of animal (probably a dog), lost some major branches and just about died. I actually thought it had died and gave up on it. I was at the rental home poking around in the yard last year and found it with new leaves on it! The leaves were BLACK though. (You can see some of the black coating the branches higher up on the tree despite the awful, blurry picture) Covered in sooty Mold like it had been spray painted! It had gotten over shadowed by a bush next to it that grew out and was living but struggling horribly. I decided to take it home with me, it was early Fall so I figured a suitable time... I have treated it all winter with fungicide, removed most of the offending foliage and am proud to say it is THRIVING! It was planted in my own little Bonsai mix- turface, pumice, some pine bark and- since it is azalea and they like more acid- a little compost... I varied up the treatments to make sure I destroyed any type of fungus and insect infestation present (used copper, lime sulfer an some Neem oil at various times) and the new growth is plentiful and perfectly clear of any fungus/ discoloration! The tree is still AWFUL to look at, but it makes me smile knowing it rescued it from death (a death I was probably the cause of) and the size of it alone gives me hope it can "be somebody" one day. I plan a major cut back.. Probably like THIS WEEKEND... But I will try to post an update on it soon to show how ugly it is before I destroy all the ugliness and make it a stump...
 

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#5
Since most of the trees I have styled myself have turned out to be pretty damn ugly as I spent the last 10-15 years teaching myself how to do this, I generally don't go around this forum bragging about my gorgeous trees! With that in mind, I figured if I was gonna post a couple pics, it would have be with the understanding that I KNOW they are ugly or progressions showing the development from raw stock to where they are now/ will be in the future. I have posted the early stages of a couple Maples I am reworking recently- now it is time to own the damage.

My name is Eric, and I make UGLY trees!

This first one is a Japanese Black Pine I bought from Lowes about... 6 years ago probably. The picture was taken a year or two back, and after looking at it grow almost NONE, despite being in a fairly large container, and after consulting with a friend, it has been planted in a more suitable location- the GROUND! I am afraid this one might have been infected with a fungus, probably some kind of needle cast, and I have been treating with Copper fungicide. I may have to go stronger to really knock it out. He is still growing fine though, no dead needles, just some spots on them, and the candles are extending nicely... Maybe I can post an updated pic tomorrow of him sitting in the ground.

Future plans- it needs to be shortened. Can't decide if I want to pancake that upper bend and make it nasty sharp, or if I just need to whack it off... Regardless, I plan on making those decisions after the tree gets healthy (again, it is growing fine, no real ill effects except some off colored needles) if I want to bend it I will have to do it soon before it gets much thicker... Regardless f which way I go, I plan to find the strongest candle low on the tree and make a sacrifice to thicken the base.

Anybody have some thoughts on a re-style?

I do hope others will fess up and show me something ugly growing in your yard to make me feel better!

I DO own a few rather pretty trees now as well (mostly ones that were already pretty when I purchased them!), but they don't belong in the ugly tree thread!

There is nothing terribly wrong with it. I think it's in that awkward stage where it needs to be grown out if you want it to be bigger, or hack it back and make a great smaller tree.

Bonsai is all about problem solving and most trees have some issue to overcome. Sometimes the question is how long will it take to overcome, or how can I accentuate some oddity to make it work to my advantage!
 
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#8
Finally a thread I can contribute to!

A ficus that doesn't want to thicken its branches, a bougie with the apex broken off, and a very sickly spruce I was hoping to turn around last fall-doesn't seem like it will.

I have more but fortunately(unfortunately) they all have threads here ha!
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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#10
Ok,2 and 4 are pretty ugly!

The other two are nicer than most of my pretty trees! LOL

I am sure you can make them into something special though...
What's fun is that I am perfectly willing to kill them all in the process of trying.
The azalea is junk and not worth my time to water, so it's in the ground.
 
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#12
Ok,2 and 4 are pretty ugly!

The other two are nicer than most of my pretty trees! LOL

:Dis actually better looking in person, this tree is much uglier in person
The question with our ugliest of trees is...do you see potential. If not, I give it away or throw it in the ground. I see the potential in this curvy little cluster. All of that foliage could put on a really pronounced live vein on what's left of the trunk. I can see where it's headed!!
 

Dav4

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#13
The question with our ugliest of trees is...do you see potential. If not, I give it away or throw it in the ground. I see the potential in this curvy little cluster. All of that foliage could put on a really pronounced live vein on what's left of the trunk. I can see where it's headed!!
Yeah, It's got potential...thank goodness bonsai isn't a race, though:eek:.
 

Dav4

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#14
Ok,2 and 4 are pretty ugly!

The other two are nicer than most of my pretty trees! LOL

:Dis actually better looking in person, this tree is much uglier in person
What I meant to say here is that Brian's third tree in his post is really quite an ugly tree;)...and that unlike my typical picture quality where the trees are actually better looking in person, this tree is actually uglier in person:eek:.
 
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#17
What I meant to say here is that Brian's third tree in his post is really quite an ugly tree;)...and that unlike my typical picture quality where the trees are actually better looking in person, this tree is actually uglier in person:eek:.
I think Dave is just breaking it down so that he can finagle it off of your hands. It really has a great base I wonder if shortening it to the first branch would be the best move as well.