Western Hemlock - Waddya Think?

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Shohin
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Here is a Western Hemlock that, typically, falls into the category of: poor picture, tree is probably slightly better than presented. Please view with that in mind.

History: This tree was spotted by the infamous JasonG and collected by the pair of us - last September. It was growing amongst a pile of rocks - ranging from softball to watermellon size - and had a 20' lodgepole pine that had crashed down upon it. I guessed at the time the deadfall pine had created the deadwood that is so prominent in this tree. Upon digging a large root ball and hoofing it back to the car, it was planted in an Anderson flat where it has remained unchanged.

Current: It has started to green a little, and recent experience repotting numerous (many world class that are not mine, but I am honored to even be in the presence of) hemlocks, spruce, firs and ponderosas, I thought I would tear into it and see what kind of new root growth I was getting amongst the native soil. I found what was expected - lots of native soil with dead roots and a small amount of good substrate with new root growth. So, I decided to jump the gun a little and 90% bare root this puppy dog (normally we are bare rooting 50% after a year and then the following 50% the next year). So, I bare rooted, cleaned the dead roots and potted it up at a new angle in this mica grow pot. Substrate it is 35% pumice, 35% lava, 30% turface and 1/2 cup of charcoal per 5 gallons - for those that care or are curious. Also, it is hard to see from the pic, but the dead trunk shari was continued to the nebari (which in its natural environment was under soil level), and a main root was shari-ed (sp?) along the top. Poor pic, but in real life, it looks not unwell.

Future: The future is clear to me. Lots of water, early morning sun and fertilizer (it got its quota of snake oil this afternoon and 1/4 cup of granular fish fertilzer for ongoing nutrients) for the rest of the year. The canopy is pretty straight forward, given what I have to work with, and it will be worked spring or fall of '08 at the soonest, depending upon how it responds to this insult.

Questions: Is this something that y'all can dig? I presented it to Hagedorn last fall, and he just laughed (though I am not sure if he was laughing at the tree or the name I have given it). Do you see the future I see? Is this a tree that y'all would call in vogue (a' la naturalistic style) or is it something like the infamous JasonG said when pointing it out: There's a wierd little tree that you'd like...
 

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cbobgo

Mame
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well, I think with some work on the top to give it some style it could be an ok tree. It will never be a powerful tree, but it could be a cute tree. Too bad there isn't any movement in the trunk.

- bob
 

rlist

Shohin
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well, I think with some work on the top to give it some style it could be an ok tree. It will never be a powerful tree, but it could be a cute tree. Too bad there isn't any movement in the trunk.

- bob
Which is why I told Mike that other than being straight as aaaa... well, ah, you know, it was a good tree...

Here is a pic of the nebari - or what little there is with a collected yamadori - with today's torching of the deadwood still showing.

By-the-by, why does it have to be powerful? Can literati's be straight trunked?
 

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darrellw

Mame
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Hi Rich,

I've got to agree with Bob. It has some nice features, but I just can't get past the ramrod-straight trunk. But it will be interesting to see it as it progresses.

BTW, what is the name you gave it?

-Darrell
 

tom tynan

Mame
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Hey Rich: You would think that a tree growing in the wild couldn't have a straight section of trunk in the middle third of the tree - but this one does and that is the challenge. You have a cool little curve at the bottom and a nice little natural apex with the shari. I really think you have only a few options; find a way to bring the top down; by splitting the trunk and wrapping with heavy wire or perhaps by hollowing the middle of the trunk and then bending somehow. Otherwise - maybe just plant it in the garden and enjoy the tree as a tree.

If your possessed to create something from this material - I think you will have to take a radical approach - which could risk the tree; you'll have to judge that for yourself.....

Let's see more Hemlock trees posted from the NW guys that collect these trees. They are beautiful trees and not often presented.

Tom.
 
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Can literati's be straight trunked?
Anything is possible, but Literati is usually defined by the dramatic twists and turns in the trunk. Although some, like the first tree in this article, have gentler bends, this is usually found in what I call the drop branch Bunjin style, which has more of a Chinese flare to them. You should be able to accomplish some gentle bends with rebar, heavy wire, and/or trunk jacks.


Will
 

JasonG

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While I will agree with everyone that this won't be a show stopper tree, ever, it is still a pretty good tree. I think the deadwood on the straight section of trunk somewhat makes the straight section acceptable. Notice I said "somewhat" :)

I think if the apex can be brought down and to the left putting it over the root base it will be ok. Or carving the trunk and putting some bends in it. If we do that then we lose all the deadwood on the trunk which I see one of the better features of this tree.

It can be a pretty good bonsai but will never be close to Rich's top 10 best trees. This tree will teach us some things, that is for sure!!

Like Rich pointed out, the pictures aren't that great and it is better in person.

Jason
 

Tachigi

Omono
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Hi Rich,
The top of your tree is great, the bottom is purrty good. Like the others say its whats in between that kills it visually. A straight trunked literati will be a tough sell. I would suggest the following if you have the nerve and a sense of adventure. ;)

I would suggest that you separate the living tissue from the deadwood. By carefully cutting the living tissue from the deadwood you can then wrap it in raffia and wire and commence to bending the snot out of it. You should be able to introduce some nice movement. You'll also end up with an added benefit of some nice shari from the original deadwood. There are some articles that have been in Bonsai today and Bonsai Europe that are pretty good. They should be able to give you enough info to take on this procedure.

No, I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night!:) I have actually tried this procedure twice. The first time ended miserably. The second went off with out a hitch and was very rewarding. I chalk up the original failure to rushing the project. This will be a very methodical and time consuming task if you chose to try it.
 

Vance Wood

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I think this is the only solution unless you want to try an air layer near the top?
 

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