Threadbranch False Cypress - Styling Question

grouper52

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This is a threadbranch false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera "Fili") I'd like some input on. Bought it in the fall a year and a half ago from a regular garden nursery that had it for sale as an ordinary garden shrub, but the tag did mention, "good bonsai subject", and I thought it looked like something someone had tried to bonsai but gave up on. Sure enough, when I repotted last spring, there, deep in the root ball, was a rectangular pad of roots and soil with wires in the middle of plastic mesh squares! Saved it from life as a shrub!

It grows very quickly and densely, so I try to keep it thinned out, but even so it has lost no inner foliage so far. Height is 35" from the soil, perhaps a bit too tall? Apex and other areas need work, of course.

My question to you all, besides any general styling advice, has to do with the large lower right foliage pad. It has always bothered me a bit - large, flat, even with the more interesting foliage on the left. I have thought of A) Leaving it alone, B) Thinning it out and perhaps growing some foliage up from it that layers higher, C) Cutting it off entirely and developing the righthand branch above it instead, or D) Since it is made up of two pads from front and back (see 3rd and 4th attachments) cutting off only one or the other pad.

Comments welcome, please. My first photos posted here, so please be tolerant if I don't post them correctly. :eek:

http://bonsainut.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=845&stc=1&d=1177990294
http://bonsainut.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=846&stc=1&d=1177990294
http://bonsainut.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=847&stc=1&d=1177990294
http://bonsainut.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=848&stc=1&d=1177990294

grouper52
 

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bonsai barry

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Nice tree. It's hard to believe it's been in training less than two years. If it were mine, I'd remove the right hand branch. Not only will it emphasize the left branch but will also show some additional movement in the trunk. However, it may make the left side look too heavy and the tree unbalanced. I think I'd also thin the left branch, especially until the new low right branch has a chance to develop.
 
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Brent

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Will

I think Barry has it. The right branch competes visually with the more interesting left branch, which should clearly be the dominant first branch. My solution would be to jin the first right branch.

Overall, there is another conflict going on. You have lots of good branch movement, jins, and rugged character, but the foliage and outline of the tree suggests smooth feminine characteristics. This could be corrected by narrowing the outline, particularly at the bottom. Jinning the right branch helps in this, but the left (first) branch also needs to be brought in, and the ascending foliage removed, making it clearly a branch that has been broken and bent with snowload. The foliage in other areas should be refined to reveal more of the jins and branch movement.

This is really going to be a handsome tree, you are so close, just a few tweaks and refinement and it will be show quality.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

darrellw

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Here is a quick virt with some of Barry's and Brent's comments incorporated.

This is going to be a very nice tree!

-Darrell
 

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grouper52

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Thank you all very much for the advice and insights (and the compliments! :) ) That's exactly the sort of help I was hoping for. And thanks for the virt, darrelw - it really brings it all into focus.

Barry, it's only been in MY training less than two years - like I said, someone had this as a bonsai before they apparently gave up on it and gave or sold it to the nursery to sell as a landscaping shrub. I find it hard to believe they did that, but they apparently did! I take little credit for it, except having the eyes to see its potential sitting there among the more common bushes. A very lucky find!

Any other feedback is certainly welcome, and I'll post some updates on this thread as the tree progresses. Thanks again.

grouper52
 

grouper52

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Well, five years later, an update.

Note that the base is Photoshopped - the pot disintegrated this winter, and I don't have a replacement yet.

I must say, these things, like their cousin, the Hinoki, are a lot of work, but not as much beauty as the Hinoki for the effort. Dan Robinson says, "Everyone ought to have a Hinoki in their collection, but no one should have more than one!" The - supposedly yearly - trimming on one this size (30") is extensive. Now that this thing is approaching what I had hoped for it, I may simply sell it in the next few years and let someone else have all that yearly fun.

Anyway, here it is, some work and a repot left to do, but close to where I wanted it. Probably as close to a classic triangle as I'm ever likely to come. Enjoy.
 

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sokonmatsumura

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I had a hinoki....I killed it. Your tree looks wonderful to me! I like it because to me it looks real. When I looked at this tree I could truly visualize it in a field. Good job.
 

grouper52

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Thanks, sokonmatsumura. My attempts at styling lean very much towards the "naturalistic" approach - studying what trees actually look like in nature and trying to capture that look convincingly, rather than simply studying bonsai and trying to make my tree look like just another one of those. I'll try other approaches on occasion if the material is inclined that way, but I prefer to try to make a tree people could imagine seeing in nature. I'm glad you appreciate this tree in that way.
 

JudyB

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It's wonderful! Another old thread of your I had missed. Lucky find, and nice to see a hinoki that isn't a big ball.
 

grouper52

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Thanks, Judy.

In terms of the famous/infamous Hinoki growth habit, at the "micro" level of the individual foliage fronds, this guy is a very distant relative, and one not much talked about by the Hinoki clan, kind of like the always-crazy but now getting-demented great uncle that Auntie Mildred Hinoki will go down and visit only out of old-fashioned obligation once a month at the cheap-but-still-licensed skilled nursing facility over near the paper mill.

It grows like a "scrub" Hinoki, and "scraggly" is the best term I can come up with for the tangles of mutant fronds. Whereas the Hinoki puts out compulsively neat and Deva-like fronds of a stylishly deep green color, this thing has dull green or orange stems of considerable length and erratic diameter that wander aimlessly for a while before ending in misshapen bursts of Jackson Pollack-like mayhem. If you are unfortunate enough to actually own one of these guys, and have to get in there and trim the thing yearly to keep it from getting too dense to keep the inner foliage alive, you will see that, yes, the structure actually IS a Hinoki-like frond of sorts, and yes, each and every one of them will need Hinoki-like trimming to keep it in check. The overall density of the tangles is far less dangerous than the Hinoki, however, and the only saving grace for having to muck around amidst the craziness once a year is that, from a distance, it actually all sort of comes together and looks pretty good.

Reminds me of the great Hunter Thompson quote: "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."
 

JudyB

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Too weird to live, and too rare to die."
Sounds like someone I know!

And I hope Auntie Hinoki doesn't wear that horrible cologne when she visits...

It seems pretty orderly for such a scrubby habit tree. Thanks for the hort background, I've never worked with one so it's interesting to know more.
 

grouper52

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I ordered a new pot that arrived the other day, and here the tree is re-potted and tweaked a bit more.

The tree sits up a bit high in such a shallow pot, but I will try re-potting a bit deeper next year, and if that doesn't work I'll consider another pot.

A bit of the old flakey bark at the base got knocked off during my efforts, but should be back to flaking again in a year or two.
 

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Bill S

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Will I missed this before too, nice looking tree, have to see if they make it to this neck of the woods.
 

grouper52

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Sitting more appropriately low in the pot this year. Probably ready to show, if I wanted to.

Threadbranch-13.jpg
 

TheSteve

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do you get any back budding on this? or is it like hinoki? I've either got one of these or it may be hinoki "tortuosa" or something like that. it's new to me so I really don't know if I'm going to be able to accomplish much with it's lack of interior foliage.
 

october

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Hi grouper, this is a beautiful Hinoki. You said you repotted this tree last April. Now, you repotted it again lower in the pot this year. Hinoki aren't really fond, well, older conifers in general, of having their root mass disturbed 2 seasons in a row. You probably are already aware of this though. I hope this tree forgives you.:D

Rob
 

tmmason10

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Such a beautiful tree. I really like the natural styles of your trees, they are so nice to look at.
 

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