One of the most basic but intimidating tasks for the beginner bonsai hobbiest is the process of trimming a Bonsai Tree. Many are fearful or removing the wrong branch, or taking off too much of the growth. In this video I go over step by step what to remove from you r tree so that you can keep it healthy, and looking great.
In this video I describe what a sacrifice branch is and when you would need to have one. They can be used to heal scars or increase the thickness of a trunk in a specific area. They are extremely useful to use the power of the tree in order to make improvements to your tree.
So last night I reviewed the pictures of my bald cypress and I still had some issues with it. Namely the second top on the left and the large pot that I had the tree it. The second top was competing for attention and really didn’t add anything. So I went back to the Bonsai Bible, John Naka’s Bonsai Techniques I. There it was on page 205 Figure 384. It says “Do not select a tree that is divided at the upper part of the trunk.” Can’t get much clearer than that. The second top had to go.
The next challenge was to get this tree into a pot about half the size of the previous one. I removed a lot of mass under the soil line, and some roots, but the tree should do well in this new pot. The good news is that I can finally pick the tree up without hurting myself.
There are a lot of issues that I have had with the bald cypress that kind of bothered me. Probably the most prominent was the “hips” that the tree had. It just looked very unnatural to me. However I had planned to hide those imperfections with some nicely placed branched.
I had grown the top out to help the scar heal, which it made great progress on during the year. Though I didn’t have the “A-HA” moment until Suthin had visited me back in August of this year. He liked the tree, but as he walked by he said, look at it from this angle… Of course he was right. From a view turning the tree wbout 30 degrees clockwise all my issues went away. Now why didn’t I think of that.
Also Mike Rogers had commented about the height of this tree to me on that same day, and I now agree with him. So since the weather was cold and this tree is now dormant, it was time for major changes!
The easiest of the problems was the height. You can see how much growth I had last year and how much new cambium had rolled over the huge scar. Although it needed to be reduced.
That’s a big cut for sure. I may actually clean the piece up and count the rings. I’d love to have some idea how old this tree really is.
A straight cut angled downward towards the back. By doing the cut in this manor you hide the scar and create a drmatic taper to the tree.
Well there turns out to be a method to my madness. I reduced the height down to the first useable branch. The placement, thickness and size of this branch makes it a perfect candidate for the new top of this tree.
Okay so here we have the new top wired in place and I used my giant Root Cutters to round off the straight edges of the big cut. This allows for the cambium to easily roll over the scar and in time will totally heal over. I added a coat of cut paste over this large wound to help the health of the tree while it healed.
So here is the finished Bald Cypress after all the changes. Look how much better the line of the tree looks now that it has been turned. Also the height is much better. Since this photo I have tilted teh tree a bit more to the left. It looks a little off balance in the photo. I’m still looking at the second trunk and am considering lowering that as well. I still hav eplenty of time this year to decide.