This one is for Martin:)

johng

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Are you ready? Let me know:)





For those of you interested, there are some more pics here.

I have also created a rough video that describes the collecting process.
 
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Tachigi

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Now that looked like fun John! Great job on the pictures an video documenting BC collection.
 

JasonG

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Hi John,

Thanks for posting this! I checked out the pictures in Picasa and there are some nice ones of your koi, yard, bonsai, etc... The video was pretty cool too, yes I watched all 15 minutes!

What do you normally do to the tops of BC? I know they have a tendancy to scar pretty good and in some cases create reverse taper. Anything special you do? I have a killer one I will be working on soon, that is why I ask.

Thanks again,

Jason
 

Attila Soos

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Thanks John for posting this, I've never seen how bald cypress is collected before, so it was very educational and fun to watch.

Question: you also showed some pond cypress here. Why is that they are so rare as bonsai? I've seen many baldies but don't really remember seing pond cypress bonsai. Is it because they are much more rare in nature, or because they are less fitted for bonsai culture.

Attila
 
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johng

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hey guys...

Thanks Tom!

Jason,

Thanks Jason...I am very impressed you made it all the way through:) With respect to the tops of collected trees I think there are 3 choices. 1st - make a long diagonal cut designed to taper the large end. BC can cover scars very quickly...If you want a large cut to heal completely and pleasingly, I think it is important to slightly recess the area to be covered...it is also important to carefully shape this area as well so that once healed the taper will look as natural as possible. 2nd choice is to carve a deadwood top...such as a from lightning or hurricane damage. SC has many many examples of this dead-top style as a result of Hurricane Hugo in 1989... The 3rd choice is a pursue a flattop style...I see this as completely different than the dead top style... A natural flattop is formed once a BC grows above the neighboring canopy and stops growing upward for light. At this point the branches begin to spread horizontally at the apex...in most cases there is a very natural progression from trunk to branches. Most often this style is completely devoid of major deadwood. I believe this style is most easily achieved by training three apexes from the new growth. A little carving down the road can "naturalize" the transitional area.

Thanks Attila...:)

A couple of thoughts about Pond Cypress...many trees that I see...especially some of the really nice large ones that have come out of Southern Florida appear to be Pond Cypress in spite of what the owners think:). PC have a slightly different foliage than BC. It is more chorded and tends to grow upward more than reg. BC. For me this is a slightly less desirable characteristic but certainly manageable. PC have slightly different shapes at the root base. In my observation the PC tend to end up with a wine bottle look...the roots spread to a point but then proceed nearly straight down...this is apparent when looking at the pics in the video. Where as BC root bases just continue to flare out.


All of the information above is simply my opinions which are based solely on my experiences and observations...:)
John
 
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Attila Soos

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It is more chorded and tends to grow upward more than reg. BC. For me this is a slightly less desirable characteristic but certainly manageable. PC have slightly different shapes at the root base. In my observation the PC tend to end up with a wine bottle look...

..that's what I noticed on the young PC that I have in my backyard, the branches grow straight up, while the branches on my BC's grow much more horizontal, so I am glad that you confirmed that.
I agree with you that the nice flare of the BC's nebari is much better than the wine bottle-look on PC, although creating a PC bonsai with the wine bottle nebari would certainly make an interesting conversational piece and also a novelty among bonsai.

Somehow I feel that the cypresses that you collect with the "knees" are much more interesting than the ones without (not to take away anything from their beauty), so if I were you, I would always look for material with knees. They are really cool, and that little extra feature makes them much more valuable than the plain ones. If I was shopping for these things, I wouldn't mind paying extra for the "bonus feature".

Thanks for the advice!
 
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Martin Sweeney

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John,

Ready? More like intimidated.

Ready? Not hardly. But I have at least a month of saying my prayers, eating my vitamins and doing my push ups to get there. I think I am going to need as much training time as posible!

I hadn't seen what you had been collecting, but assume that there has been a step up in the size that you and Ken are tackling now compared to past years.

Can you confirm that what appears to be a knee on the left side of the tree in the picture in the driveway is a knee?

Man, oh man, thanks for wetting my apetite!

Regards,
Martin
 

johng

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Hey Martin... These trees are certainly the biggest to date. There is a small projection off one of the roots that might be something like a knee...


It will be fun...but probably a lot hotter:)
John
 

Martin Sweeney

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John,

Just watched the video and do appreciate the fact that you left some small ones for me!

I am more excited than ever to hit the swamp and see what can be found. Thanks for being willing to bring me along. Do the greenhorns have to carry all the trees out or something?

Nice work on the video, that was interesting stuff and well done.

Looking forward to the day,
Martin
 

johng

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Thanks Martin...I am looking forward to spending the day as well. I am not sure if JD browses here or not but I hope he joins us as well. The video is really rough from my perspective...it was a one take effort without a script or even notes...guess that explains all the pauses and ummms:) Will respond to your pm from work today.
John
 

JasonG

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Hi John,

Thanks for the detailed reply! Here is a picture of my cypress that I am going to tackle in the next few weeks....check out the knee on this thing!! It has been the topic of many conversations and jokes!! Too funny.

Thanks again...

Jason
 

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Tachigi

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Jason I say cut the knee off, scrap the tree. You'll make more money selling the knee at a novelty shop :)
 

Rusty Harris

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Wow! Great video and tips John.

The talk and demo you did at our club meeting was very informative, and much was learned about azalea by all in attendance, but I was secretly wishing the topic would have been on bald cypress. They are my favorite of any tree used for bonsai, and I find the ones I have seem to get much more attention and admiration(by myself) compared to the other trees I have. I have memories of bald cypress all the way from my early childhood. Those huge buttresses standing in swampy water have caught my eye as long as I can remember, even from coastal trips with my family as a toddler. I have lived in this area(east and north of Charlotte) all of my life, yet have seen only one place were BC grows, and it is off limits. I have fished, by boat, area lakes for years, and have had my "eye out" for baldies growing in this area for collection, but nothing yet. I have heard they grow naturally at Mountain Island Lake, and plan to scout it out soon, for large mouth and baldies. When I do find that "sweet spot", the tips and techniques in the video you posted will , I am sure, help me with successful collecting.
Should you and / or Ken do further lecture/demo for us in Charlotte, I would like it very much if it would be on the finest native tree ,IMHO, for bonsai, Bald Cypress.
 

johng

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Thank Rusty. I am glad you enjoyed both. Growing up in South Eastern Texas I have many of the same memories as you. I am not familiar with NC lakes and rivers but I know bc are there. In SC you have to look in the Eastern half of the state. Most all water east of Columbia has some with the numbers increasing as you get closer to the coast. Speak up at your club meetings as the topic of the last demo was a request from the club. Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Good luck with those largemouth...they have been frustrating me this year:)
John
 

Martin Sweeney

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John,
Have these trees rewarded your hard work of yanking them away from family, friends and the only life they have known with some new growth?
Regards,
Martin
 

digger714

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Wow, wish i hadnt missed the trip. Do you still take people out to the location. Im in Charlotte, NC. Ill bring the food, and beverages.

Brad
 

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