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.
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.
Guy Guidry made a stop in Orlando last week for a workshop, and I couldn’t think of a better tree for him to help me with than my new bald cypress. I’ve always seen it as a weeping style, but he made a few other options.
Guy Guidry sketches
Everything from flat top to an extended twin trunk style. However with a bit of pushing from Mike Rogers we went for the traditional Japanese Formal Upright (shown in the center drawing)
Guy Guidry & Mike Rogers
In oder to make this style, the main trunk needed to be shortened and smoothed. Guy couldn’t wait to get the power tools going. Here is a great shot of him working with Mike Rogers in the background.
Paul Pikel wiring
After removing about 4 inches from the top I started the wiring, and I have to admit I have been looking forward to doing this for months now.
Wired bald cypress
Here is the tree with all its branches wired. I knew that not all the branches would remain but I wanted to get this done prior to styling the tree.
The tree looks great after its initial styling. I have a rather big scar to heal over this year and to develop a top. However this tree should be looking very good by next Winter
So the Flower and Garden Festival starts this Wednesday and I am rushing to get my tree at its best for display. Mother Nature hasn’t been too cooperative and we had a very cold winter. However my tree has produced tons of flowers, but it is taking a while to put out the leaves as well. I placed the tree outside my screen patio to get additional sunlight to get the leaves to fill in.
Bouganvillea Ready for Epcot
However with that issue taken care of, The Bonsai Societies of Florida Convention starts Thursday and I am to display two trees there. The problem again are the leaves. In this case, there aren’t really any to speak of.
Waiting for leaves to appear
I hope this peek of Spring helps many of you to get inspired to start working on your trees. This is certainly one of my favorite times of the year.