Update on burning bush

plant_dr

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I originally posted this tree here a little over a month ago when it was bareboned just after collecting. It didn't get much response back then, but here is an update now that it has leafed out and I have a good camera to take pictures of it. Hope you like it better now:)

I have not trimmed any of the new growth at all. Should I let it grow for a couple more years to gain more strength or will it be ok to cut back a few branches next year to begin some training?

~P.S.~ This should also help Redwood Ryan with his question about backbudding on these guys...
 

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bonsai barry

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This tree has some interesting features in the trunk. It's dofficult to see which direction yo plan to take this tree. If it were mine, now that I had seen all of the new growth, I'd remove some of the older branches above the deadwood in the trunk in order to feature it more.
 

M.B.

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Since you just collected it this year I wouldn't cut anything until it goes dormant. Your tree needs to build strength and needs the leaves to do that. Then early spring maybe cut back some of the straight, stiff growth. This can be a very nice tree if you don't rush it.
Mary B.
 

rockm

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Newly collected material is newly collected two even three years down the line. It takes most trees that long to regenerate enough of a root mass to make a go of things. Working newly collected trees two years after collection is asking for trouble.

The tree isn't putting out strong growth. It has pushed new growth, which is good news, but it doesn't mean the tree is strong enough to work next year. Trees do not recover as quickly or in the same way as humans or animals. New top growth depends on new low growth (and vice versa). Slow down one and you slow down the other. Leave the tree alone for at least two years, three would be even better.
 

plant_dr

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That last picture was very early in its new growth cycle. It has been a very weird/late spring. Here it is after filling in some more; its growing pretty strongly I'd say!
 

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Redwood Ryan

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I never noticed this thread, but yes this helps me out a lot. Thank you. That tree looks great! I never did cut mine back, or even repot it. I am too scared to do it now. It may be too hot and too late I guess.
 

plant_dr

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I'm glad I've been some help! Ryan, since hese only have one flush of growth per year it would not be safe to do anything now. Just keep it healthy and be patient till next spring- then you can go to town on it!
~Zach~
 
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plant_dr

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Some pictures of this tree without leaves. Should I wait another year or two to reduce the rootball a bit from when it was collected or can I do it early this spring? All I would do is cut some of the roots off from the high side and the long side so it could be more level and more centered in the pot. Should I only cut off from the long side then add soil mix only to that side to level it out without trimming the high side? I propped up the low side so the soil was level this past year.

~Zach~
 

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rockm

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"All I would do is cut some of the roots off from the high side and the long side so it could be more level and more centered in the pot. Should I only cut off from the long side then add soil mix only to that side to level it out without trimming the high side? I propped up the low side so the soil was level this past year."

This may not seem like much, but any way you do it, you're messing with new roots. Trying to remove one side of a root mass while the entire thing is still in a container usually leads to a mess. If you're going to do that, I'd wait until the tree is established enoug for the ENTIRE root mass to be taken out and worked as a single unit.

Trying to work the roots without seeing the entire root mass CAN lead to disaster, as you don't really know what's going on on the unworked portion.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I'd be inclined to do a little branch work; selection pruning and light wiring, and leave the roots alone to recover for another season. It survived collecting last year, giving them a second year undisturbed will strengthen the tree significantly.
 

Vance Wood

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I'd be inclined to do a little branch work; selection pruning and light wiring, and leave the roots alone to recover for another season. It survived collecting last year, giving them a second year undisturbed will strengthen the tree significantly.
I agree. You need to cut back the most vigorous growing areas to help stimulate the areas that are struggling. If you don't do this you could possible find yourself with a "run away" taking all of the tree"s resources from the other areas of the tree. As of now you should not be so concerned about too many bonsai characteristics other than keeping the growth in toward the trunk vigorous and vital.
 

Dan

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I am a new bonsai person artist? Whatever. I like your burning bush it is showing awesome potential. I have only been serious about bonsai for two seasons now dabbled for three before that but from what I have read of them they recover rapidly. I am thinking it may be the shrub verses a tree thing that they are so fast. Being more prone to grazing and rodent damage as they are closer to the ground. Keep up the posts I love a progression series.:)
 

Vance Wood

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This piece of material has great potential if it is approached as is and not from the stand point of trying to make it conform to some selected bonsai style one might have pictured in their mind. Burning Bush tends to grow straight and trying to put curves and things like that in the branches will probably be meet with failure. Look to tree forms such as broom and flame styles. Not everything that is bonsai must be made of twisted and gnarled branches. The trunk alone on this piece makes it worth working with, all that is needed is a change in planting angle so that it is more upright as opposed to leaning over toward the back ,if you go with the original picture you posted in your initial post as the front---which I agree with.
 

plant_dr

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It didn't wake up the following Spring(2011). So sad, it could have been great. I'm always keeping my eye out for trunks like that one though, it was very unique.
 
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