Yamadori Cedar Elm Straight Into Bonsai Pot

jbogard

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This weekend I was able to collect a nice size Cedar Elm that has a nice radial root spread and primary branching. I think I may reduce one of the two larger upper branches a bit more but I think I’ll take my time and think on it for a bit. I went straight to a bonsai pot because I didn’t want a lot of large growth since I’m pretty happy with its current appearance. I’m also probably going to eventually remove that first lower branch but I might leave it a while to help fatten the trunk a bit. Any styling recommendations are welcome.
 

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Mellow Mullet

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This weekend I was able to collect a nice size Cedar Elm that has a nice radial root spread and primary branching. I think I may reduce one of the two larger upper branches a bit more but I think I’ll take my time and think on it for a bit. I went straight to a bonsai pot because I didn’t want a lot of large growth since I’m pretty happy with its current appearance. I’m also probably going to eventually remove that first lower branch but I might leave it a while to help fatten the trunk a bit. Any styling recommendations are welcome.
I think that it has a nice shape to it, and a great trunk, but I think the pot might be a little too small for it. I would definitely get rid of that lowest branch, it is not really gonna help anything to thicken much and will only leave a bigger scar if you let it get bigger and remove it later. When it starts growing, maybe chase some of those thick limbs back and start building some taper.

John
 

markyscott

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Any styling recommendations are welcome.
You’re going to enjoy working on cedar elm. They grow great in Texas.
  1. I think you’d be better off in a training pot. It takes time to build a bonsai
  2. Worry first about trunk line, taper and nebari. You create line and taper by pruning (not this year - this is recovery year). Where is your front? You’ve got no nebari (no big deal on yamadori elm) to worry about, so you might as well pick a front that shows as much trunk movement as possible. What is the line of your main trunk? Try to imagine pruning to create movement an taper and make it the smallest bonsai possible. Perhaps like one of these? Let that vision be a guide to your pruning. I’d (eventually) perhaps do a lot more structural pruning to get it down to a tree I’d like to work with.
    • D30E8771-9195-4D28-979A-50113E0F2A24.jpeg E4AED704-72C5-40D5-87BE-E333B3D008BA.jpeg
  3. If you’re planning on trying to create taper with the thick branch on the bottom, don’t bother. I’m with John. It won’t thicken the lower trunk unless you let it grow 10’ tall or so. And then you’ll have a big scar to deal with. You’ve got something that looks like it’ll be a tall skinny tree - work with that.
  4. Branches should have movement and taper too - regardless of what style you’re planning for the tree. They should be bigger on the bottom and smaller toward the top of the tree. They should be organized to exhibit the type (or style) of tree you’re trying to execute. On a small tree branches should “branch” close to the trunk. “Branches” should be smaller than the main trunk to give an appearance of size - keep them less than 1/2 the size of the trunk near the base and they should get progressively smaller toward the apex. Prune away any big branches at the apex. Consider as an example Rodney Clemons well executed Winged elm (now at the national exhibit). Although there are a couple of details I’d do a bit differently, I think this is a really nice tree and your starting point is probably at least as good or better than what Rodney had. And you definitely have another species.
    • 97BA1D2D-9D2F-499A-9E73-F57C2DD95636.jpeg
  5. Build the branches from the inside out and create movement and taper in your branches. Look how the branches on Rodney’s tree are thicker near the trunk and thinner out near the branch tips. Rodney’s branches have very little movement, but they shouldn’t. He’s got a pretty straight trunk line. If you have more movement in your trunk, you want more movement in your branches too. You create that by pruning and wiring. I personally would likely start over on all the branches and cut everything back to the main trunk line to start from there. That’s what Rodney did with his as well. But if there’s something you’d like to keep, cut it back to a bit past where you want the first branch to be and build it from there.
Hope that helps.

Oh - and by the way. Come to the national convention in Houston this April. There’s at least one really awesome cedar elm that will be on display in the exhibit. It’s probably close to 4’ tall.

S
 

Zach Smith

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Are you sure that's a Cedar elm? I don't see a single bit of cork on any of the small branches, and the twigging is not very dense.
 

markyscott

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Are you sure that's a Cedar elm? I don't see a single bit of cork on any of the small branches, and the twigging is not very dense.
Good point Zach - I should have looked closer. It may look a bit oakish, actually.

- S
 

Michael P

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We won't know for certain until we see and touch mature foliage, but it looks like a cedar elm to me. The corky wings are highly variable in this species depending on environment and genetics.

Keep showqing us these cool north Texas finds!
 

Zach Smith

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Good point Zach - I should have looked closer. It may look a bit oakish, actually.

- S
Yeah, I was just in East Texas last weekend for Cedar elm and they were all massively corked up. Now, we also happened upon oak, Sweetgum and Sassafras. The twigs on this specimen pictured just don't look like Cedar elm to me - but all will be revealed in time!
 

jbogard

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Yeah, I was just in East Texas last weekend for Cedar elm and they were all massively corked up. Now, we also happened upon oak, Sweetgum and Sassafras. The twigs on this specimen pictured just don't look like Cedar elm to me - but all will be revealed in time![/QUOT
Are you sure that's a Cedar elm? I don't see a single bit of cork on any of the small branches, and the twigging is not very dense.
I’m pretty sure it is. I’ll get you a better picture of some of the buds. This was growing under the shade of an Ashe juniper and most of the growing tips were a lot farther away from the trunk of the tree. It’s definitely not an oak. Although I would be happy either way haha.
 

Zach Smith

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The dormant buds will be a tell. Then the leaves, where the identity will be solved for sure! As you say, good material no matter what.
 

jbogard

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The dormant buds will be a tell. Then the leaves, where the identity will be solved for sure! As you say, good material no matter what.
Not sure how detailed the picture is on your end but here’s a pic of some buds and bark.
 

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jbogard

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Just a quick update. It’s a cedar elm and it’s pushing though our hot summer albeit a little sluggish for a cedar elm. I think I’ll put it into a larger training pot come spring. I also think I will prune off the larger (right) of the two apex branches as suggested by @markyscott and maybe one of the three that branches from the left leader. Any styling advice is welcome. I’m a newbie just trying to learn.
 

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